Melbourne: Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and pacer Peter Siddle has made a comeback as Australia announced a 14-member squad for their upcoming three-match ODI series against India.
Siddle’s inclusion in the team came as a big surprise as the fast bowler had played his last one-day match back in 2010 against Sri Lanka. Australia’s selection panel chairman Trevor Hohns, however, justified Siddle’s selection by saying that the bowler has improved significantly in the white ball cricket and has been rewarded for his “professionalism” and “leadership qualities”.
“His white ball cricket has improved considerably the older he has got, and his selection is a great reward for his professionalism and strong leadership qualities,” Cricket.com.au quoted Hohns, as saying.
On Khawaja’s selection, the selection chairman said that the batsman is picked up in the ODI side keeping in mind his ability to post “competitive totals”.
“Usman is a batsman we know can put vital runs on the board at the top of the order, and Peter is not only a fine player of spin bowling, but he’s also a batsman we know can hold an innings together while keeping the scoreboard ticking over,” Hohns said.
In the bowling department, Australia made a major reshuffle as they rested three of their main fast bowlers including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins. The decision was taken keeping in sight the upcoming World Cup tournament.
Australian spinner Nathon Lyon, who missed the ODI series against South Africa, has made a comeback in the limited overs format. Consequently, left-arm spinner Ashton Agar has been left out of the ODI squad.
“Nathan is the best off-spin bowler in the world and we’ve noted how successful teams around the world have been using a two-pronged spin attack in the right conditions in white ball cricket, something we are very mindful of heading to the World Cup,” Hohns said.
“Unfortunately for Ashton Agar the return of Nathan Lyon as one of our specialist spinners means there wasn’t a place available in the squad for him,” he added.
Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile has been ruled out of the series owing to lower back soreness.
India and Australia are slated to play a three-match ODI series from January 12 to 18.
Following are the full Australian squad for India ODI series:
Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.