Hayden withdraws from Bangladesh series
Matthew Hayden has been ruled out of the one-day series against Bangladesh due to a long-standing Achilles problem, but he remains on track for the Test series against India in October. Hayden was originally due to travel with the squad to Darwin - the first match is on Saturday - in an attempt to be fit for the Champions Trophy.
However, the team's medical staff decided Hayden should take advantage of the postponement of the tournament and use the break to ensure he is fully fit for the four-Test series against India in October. He has spent time at the squad camp in Brisbane over the past two days and will continue his rehabilitation at home.
No replacement will be named for Hayden and the 13-man squad will head to Darwin on Wednesday to prepare for the three matches against the ninth-ranked Bangladesh. Hayden suffered the injury while training in the Indian Premier League and left the tour of the West Indies without playing a Test. His withdrawal is another setback for Australia, who will also be without Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee.
Ponting batted in the nets in Brisbane on Sunday while Lee is in Sydney dealing with the break-up of his marriage. Michael Clarke, the captain for the series, said he expected both players to be available for India. "Our 100% support is behind Brett and any time he's ready to come back we're willing to take him," Clarke said. "The guys have been in contact with him and he knows everyone is supporting him. We're all looking to him getting back."
Despite Bangladesh's lowly ranking, Clarke refuses to treat the tourists as easybeats. "You'll never hear me say that," he said. "They beat us in Cardiff [in 2005], and that sits in my memory. We will certainly speak about that when we arrive in Darwin. We're going to have to play good cricket."
Australia's pre-season calendar has opened up with the rescheduling of the Champions Trophy and they will weigh up the benefits of another team camp in September with going to India earlier to help them acclimatise. "There are two sides to it," Clarke said. "One-day cricket is still cricket under your belt, which is great leading into Test cricket. Now we can prepare in conditions we're going to be playing the Tests in."
The one-day squad was joined on Monday by the Australia A outfit, which has a series of matches in India next month, and members of the Queensland team. Shaun Tait was also involved and looked fit and happy following his problems with physical and mental exhaustion last summer. The outdoor training followed a squad meeting on Sunday when Tim Nielsen, the coach, outlined his plans for the next 15 months.
One of Nielsen's main points was not getting too far ahead, a stance Clarke supported when asked if he was thinking of the 2009 Ashes. "Not at all," he said. "I'm looking to Bangladesh in Darwin - as far as I'm going to look is India."
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo