Australia v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Canberra November 17, 2014

Johnson rested, Lyon left out

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'Can concentrate on bowling instead of niggles' - Cummins

Australia's selectors have rested Mitchell Johnson from the remainder of the ODI series against South Africa to ensure his readiness for the India Tests, while Xavier Doherty has been preferred to Nathan Lyon as the team's spinner.

The national selector Rod Marsh named the squad also shorn of the injured captain Michael Clarke for the remaining three matches against the South Africans, starting with Wednesday's fixture at Canberra's Manuka Oval. The coach Darren Lehmann was reluctant to say Clarke was out of contention for the Gabba, only suggesting that the next few days of consultation with medical experts in Sydney would reveal more about the captain's future.

"Basically what we're going to do is see how he goes in the next couple of days," Lehmann said. "He's back in Sydney, he'll see some specialists and speak to Alex our physio and work out the plan from there. Till I get confirmation I'm not going to say he's in or he's out. At the moment he's captain of Australia and if he's fit to play and gets through the next little bit, hopefully he'll front up in the first Test. Only time will tell.

"I just want to know if he's in or out. For us it's making sure he's back playing as quick as he can and fully fit. If he's fit he'll play, he's captain. We've got a couple of days. So lets see what happens in a couple of days."

Even without Clarke there was no room for the in-form Cameron White, leaving him precious few opportunities remaining to press for World Cup inclusion following a glut of tall scores for Victoria. Clarke has indicated that he wants the Australian ODI squad as settled as possible in time for the triangular series that precedes the World Cup.

"We have chosen not to replace Michael Clarke in the squad with another batsman. After considering the situation we believe we have enough batting depth for the next three matches of this series without calling in another player," Marsh said.

Lehmann said Johnson was due for some time at home following tours of Zimbabwe and Pakistan. "He's been up and about for a while now," Lehmann told reporters in Perth. "We had Zimbabwe, UAE, obviously these two here, it's just to freshen him up and make sure he's right to go for the summer. That's all it is, a chance to do that and also Mitchell Starc comes back in, so we've got a pretty good replacement there. That's just what we do occasionally, especially in the one-day format."

Pat Cummins was included to cover for Johnson, stepping up his return to the international arena following some head-turning spells during the Twenty20 series that began South Africa's tour.

"Pat Cummins impressed in his return to Australian duty in the recent T20 Series and Mitch Starc has been in good form since his return from the UAE," Marsh said.

Doherty's inclusion keeps him in the running for a place in Australia's World Cup squad next year, though Lehmann said Lyon's absence was geared towards helping him develop as a Test bowler with a second Sheffield Shield match ahead of the first meeting with India at the Gabba in December.

"Xavier played really well in the UAE for us in a couple of games," Lehmann said. "Nathan Lyon is playing the Shield cricket which is important for his development as a Test bowler. There's no right or wrong answer there, Xavier's the one we picked here."

As with Clarke's situation, Lehmann was also hesitant about stating Haddin would be stand-in captain, even though the team performance chief Pat Howard had declared he would be recommending the board approve the wicketkeeper as Clarke's short-term replacement.

"There's been names bandied around all over the place. Young blokes and older guys. End of the day the selection panel and the chairman of selectors will come up with a name and put it to the board and the board ratify that. It ends up being the board decision other than anything else. Whoever that is, they'll do a good job.

"We know how we want to play so whoever captains will do a good job, we're not worried about that. We're aiming for him to play that Shield game before the first Test and he needs to play that for us, so from our point of view he's ahead of the game, and it looks like he's going to play that one. But again, until he's named and played we're not sure.

"It's very handy to have that experience. We need that in our side anyway full stop. You need that with the younger guys and the good mix we've got at the moment is important. We'd love him to come up."

Mitchell Marsh will play in Canberra before leaving the squad to play for Western Australia in the last Shield round before the Gabba.

Australia squad George Bailey (capt), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner, Shane Watson

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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