December 31, 2001

Williams included in one-day squad

Brad Williams' claims on an Australian debut have been enhanced after the pace bowler was today selected in the 14-man squad that will represent the country in the VB Series of one-day international matches against New Zealand and South Africa.

Williams, 27, is the only uncapped player in a squad chosen for the start of the three-cornered series in Melbourne next month.

The Western Australian paceman was called into an Australian squad for the first time when chosen to replace the injured Jason Gillespie ahead of the recently completed Second Test against South Africa in Melbourne. He has also been included in the 13-man party that the Australians will take to Sydney for the third and final Test of that series, starting on Wednesday.

But he was named twelfth man in Melbourne and, on a pitch suited to spin, is also likely to miss out on a place in the starting eleven in Sydney.

Williams' best chance of a maiden Australian appearance is therefore likely to emerge when the limited-overs program commences in the second week of January.

In something of a change in practice from recent years, the Australian one-day party contains only three players - batsman Michael Bevan and all-rounders Ian Harvey and Andrew Symonds - who have not appeared in a Test squad this summer. Aside from Gillespie, only one member of the Test line-up - opening batsman Justin Langer - has been excluded.

Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist are expected to continue their association at the top of the order, but the inclusion of in-form Queenslander Matthew Hayden adds to the side's batting options. Hayden joins Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh, Damien Martyn and Bevan as the squad's other specialist batsmen. With Harvey and Symonds also pushing for berths, it's likely that the Australians will continue the policy of consistently rotating players into and out of their line-up during the series.

This practice is also likely to be extended to include Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Andy Bichel and Williams as they jostle to assume the team's coveted pace bowling positions.

Australia's VB Series campaign begins on 11 January in a day-night match against New Zealand.

The full squad is: Steve Waugh (c), Adam Gilchrist (v/c), Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Brad Williams.