Bevan left out of Australia's 30-man preliminary squad
Australia's selection panel has named a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy in England in September. The party will be trimmed down to 14 before August 10. And Michael Bevan, for years the key player in Australia's one-day line-up, and considered by many to be one of the greatest one-day batsmen of all time, has been omitted.
Bevan, who averages a scarcely believable 53.58 in his 232 one-day internationals, was denied a central contract earlier this year, but Cricket Australia insisted then that uncontracted players would still be considered for selection. Indeed, Andy Bichel, who also missed out on a central contract, is part of this preliminary squad. But Bevan has been left out, and the message from Australia's famously unsentimental selectors is all too clear.
Trevor Hohns, chairman of the selection panel, said he was certain that the touring party would have sufficient depth to capture one of the few baubles missing from Australia's overloaded trophy cabinet. "This is just the first step in selecting the squad to take part in the Champions Trophy, a tournament Australia has yet to win and one which is important in maintaining the country's status as the best one-day side in the world.
"So far we have selected a healthy mix of players - batsmen, bowlers, allrounders, and two specialist wicketkeepers. It gives us a broad range to choose from when it comes to finalising the list. That won't be an easy task, because there are several players that could fill a variety of roles for us at the tournament.
"There are a few new players in the mix including Jonathan Moss, Marcus North, Dominic Thornely and Damien Wright, who continue to impress at domestic level. Their selection recognises their strong performances of late."
Australia will first take part in a three-nation tournament in Holland in late August, with India and Pakistan the other participants. At the Champions Trophy itself, they will take on the United States of America - rank outsiders playing at this level for the first time - at the Rose Bowl in Southampton (Sept 13), and then New Zealand at The Oval three days later.
The squad will depart Australia on August 19.
The 30-man preliminary squad
Andrew Bichel, Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Jason Gillespie, Brad Haddin (wk), Ian Harvey, Nathan Hauritz, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon Katich, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Jonathan Moss, Marcus North, Ricky Ponting (capt), Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Dominic Thornely, Shane Watson, Cameron White, Brad Williams, Damien Wright.