ICC World Cup 2011 December 17, 2010

Australia pick Hodge in initial World Cup squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brad Hodge has been given some hope of playing for Australia again, after being named in the preliminary 30-man squad for next year's World Cup. Brett Lee is also in the running for Australia's title defence, while James Pattinson is the only man in the group who hasn't played for Australia in any format.

The squad will be pruned to 15 by January 19, giving the selectors just one ODI against England to answer any remaining questions they have about their players. Lee has a strong chance of being part of the tournament, which starts in February, as he has 15 Ryobi Cup wickets at 21.73 this summer, while Hodge is the form batsman in the competition with three hundreds from seven games.

"There is blend of youth and experience in this extended group with exciting young talent like David Warner, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Stephen O'Keefe all pushing for inclusion in the final fifteen," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "These players have some opportunity between now and January 19 to push for a spot in the final squad of 15.

"Australia is the reigning world champion and also holds the ICC Champions Trophy in the 50-over game. We've selected an initial squad with conditions in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in mind and expect this group to be equal to the challenge ahead."

Squad Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, Brad Hodge, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Steve O'Keefe, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Shaun Tait, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.