England faces familiar foe in tour opener October 16, 2006

Gillespie picked to lead Prime Minister's XI

Cricinfo staff

Jason Gillespie says it's an honour to face England in their first match of the tour © Getty Images

Jason Gillespie has been rewarded for his fantastic service to Australian cricket by being named captain of the Prime Minister's XI for England's tour opener in Canberra on November 10. While Gillespie is excited to lead the team, he will also be able to use the match as another opportunity to hold his spot in the Test side following his double-century and Man-of-the-Series displays in Bangladesh.

Gillespie, who has played 18 Tests against England, has said he has "no chance" of playing at the Gabba on November 23, but Michael Kasprowicz and Stuart Clark have since suffered injuries that have set back their preparations. "To be given the opportunity to lead such a young and exciting side in what will be my first PM's XI game is a fantastic honour," Gillespie said. "To be the leader of the first side to take on England at the start of what is shaping as a great series is a real privilege."

Six players who appeared for Australia A in the winter's Top End Series were selected, including Phil Jaques, Mark Cosgrove and Ben Hilfenhaus, while Tasmania's Tim Paine will be the wicketkeeper. Mark Divin, the ACT allrounder, was chosen as 12th man in the side picked with input from the prime minister John Howard.

"Apart from Jason, we have a young side and we hope they display their talents against this high-quality international side," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "There are some young players with international experience like Jaques and Cosgrove, but we have some exciting young batting talent as well.

"Young bowlers Shaun Tait and Ben Hilfenhaus impressed during the Australia A series earlier in the year and also during their stints at the Centre of Excellence. They are both very much in our thoughts moving forward."

The match will be the tenth time the Prime Minister's XI have played England, with the locals winning six games and losing three. Len Hutton guided his team to victory by 31 runs in the first match during the 1954-55 tour - Richie Benaud scored 113 for the PM's XI - and Mark Waugh steered the home side to a four-wicket triumph in 2002-03.

Prime Minister's XI Phil Jaques (NSW), Mark Cosgrove (SA), Tim Paine (Tas), Travis Birt (Tas), Adam Voges (WA), Shaun Marsh (WA), Cameron White (Vic), Jason Gillespie (SA, capt), Ben Hilfenhaus (Tas), Adam Ritchard (ACT), Shaun Tait (SA), Mark Divin (ACT, 12th man).