Sydney:Skipper Ricky Ponting says he has enough talent for Australia's Ashes defence in England this year without controversial allrounder Andrew Symonds.
Selectors preferred the injury-prone Shane Watson over Symonds when they unveiled their 16-man squad here on Wednesday for the June-September series.
Ponting, who the previous day said he wouldn't be surprised if Symonds was named in his touring party, defended the selectors' choice of Watson and Andrew McDonald ahead of the headline-grabbing 34-year-old for the team's all-rounder spots.
Symonds has had a chequered 26-Test career and has not played a Test for Australia since Boxing Day last year against South Africa in Melbourne following a season of injury, poor form and off-field personal problems.
"I can't personally be disappointed and we both know how good a player Andrew can be, but the facts are that he went out of the side for reasons last year," Ponting said at the team announcement.
"Opportunities were given to others and they have played exceptionally well enough to keep Andrew out of the squad.
"That is as simple and as difficult as it actually needs to be."
Symonds has been making a late bid for Ashes inclusion with the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League in South Africa.
"Look, he will be disappointed but I have a squad of 16 players to take to England that I am very confident we can play a level of cricket that is going to be good enough to win the series," Ponting said.
"That is all I am focusing on now.
"The selections have been made and I know the selectors have thought long and hard about this squad and the squad has come up without Andrew's name in it."
Chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, said Watson got the nod over Symonds even though it was subject to his recovery from a groin injury.
"I suppose Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson were competing for the same spot, I would class them both as batters who give us quality overs at their best, but on this occasion Shane has been preferred because in the selectors' view he adds great balance to the team," Hilditch said.
"Shane was in extremely good form before his minor injury and in addition he gives us quality pace bowling and he's capable of batting anywhere in the top six, so we think he's a very good selection for the Ashes tour."
Symonds is averaging 40.61 with the bat since his Test debut in March 2004 and his mixture of medium pacers and offspin have netted him 24 wickets at 37.33.