Australian selectors spring big changes
Australia's selectors responded to the Ashes defeat with a dramatic cull that included dropping Damien Martyn from the Test side and Matthew Hayden from the one-day outfit for next month's Super Series. Michael Kasprowicz and Jason Gillespie have been cut from both squads as Australia plan to use the limited-overs matches to begin their preparation for the 2007 World Cup.
After months of speculation about new faces the selectors decided spring was the right season to begin the regeneration process. Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, said "We consider it is time to make some adjustments to the [Test] batting line-up after some disappointing results in England".
Shane Watson joins Brad Hodge and Stuart MacGill in the 13-man Test squad for the six-day match against the World XI starting on October 14. "Watson gives the squad added flexibility," Hohns said. "We can choose to play two spinners if the pitch looks like it will offer them something, or we can play four bowlers with Watson providing a fifth option."
Martyn, who averaged 19.77 in the Test series against England, held his place in the one-day side that has also been given a shake for the three matches against the World XI from October 5-9. The fast bowler Shaun Tait has been added while Nathan Bracken and James Hopes have earned recalls in selections that show their potential as defenders of the World Cup in the West Indies.
"We are really looking to the Super Series as the start of our preparations for 2007," Hohns said. "We have re-jigged the one-day side to what we hope will provide a range of options to take on a formidable World XI side as well as forming the nucleus of the 2007 squad."
Hohns did not rule Gillespie, Kasprowicz and Hayden out of World-Cup contention but insisted it was time to move forward. "We are looking to include players who can bat, bowl and field and Hopes fits that bill perfectly," Hohns said. "He gives us another all-round option, and can open the batting if required. He stood out over summer - he won the ING Cup Player of the Series award - and we are confident that he can add a new dimension to the team."
Gillespie, who struggled on the tour of England, said he was extremely disappointed to miss out on both Super Series squads. "My goals are to focus on training and preparation for the start of the summer with the Adelaide Buffalos and the South Australia Redbacks," Gillespie said, "and put some good performances together with the view to give the Australian selectors every reason to select me."
Test squad Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting (capt), Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait, Stuart MacGill.
One-day squad Adam Gilchrist (wk), Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting (capt), Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, James Hopes, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait.