Ponting out of Bangladesh series
Ricky Ponting's recovery from wrist surgery will prevent him from appearing in the one-day series against Bangladesh at the end of the month while Matthew Hayden must prove he is ready after a long-standing heel problem. Ponting's absence makes him an unlikely starter for the Champions Trophy - if Australia go to Pakistan - while Hayden will be monitored over the next two weeks.
Both players left the tour of West Indies early, with Ponting heading home during the one-day series, and Hayden departing without playing a Test. "I'm feeling pretty good but if you'd asked me this time last week I would have said I was no chance," Hayden told the Australian. "I saw my local physio [on Friday] and he said it was a completely different tendon to the one he treated last week. He was really worried.
"It's a race against the clock. Given its rapid improvement from last week I'm certainly a chance but I can't give a definite answer whether I'm in or out. I've got to be careful I don't take any risks over the next month or so given what we have ahead of us. I'll certainly be conservative with it."
Michael Clarke, who was in Melbourne for a meeting with ICC officials over the Pakistan situation, will take charge of the 14-man squad. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said the three games against Bangladesh in Darwin would be ideal preparation for a busy time over the next 18 months. "While it is disappointing not to have Ricky Ponting available," Hilditch said, "we are confident that continuing his recovery and missing this series will assure Ricky is ready for the demanding cricket schedule ahead."
Australia's previous engagement was the 5-0 win over West Indies and players such as Shaun Marsh, Cameron White and David Hussey have held their spots. "This series provides us with an exciting opportunity to see our senior players and youth combine in what will be a very important series for us," the coach Tim Nielsen said. "We are very hopeful of Matthew Hayden being able to rejoin the team and our medical staff will continue to monitor him over the next two weeks."
The Australians go into camp next week in Queensland before the first match of the series on August 30. Originally Bangladesh were supposed to appear in two Tests, but they were postponed to 2010 when it was realised they clashed with the Olympics. Both teams will use the contests to fine-tune for the Champions Trophy, which is currently due to start in Pakistan on September 12.
Australia Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin (wk), Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, James Hopes, Cameron White, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken.