Selectors sympathetic to state T20 ambitions
In a further concession to the Twenty20 game, Australia's selectors have made the rare decision to consider the state's prospects in the Big Bash for the opening one-day internationals against Pakistan. Andrew Hilditch, the panel chairman, has chosen trim 12-man squads for the first match in Brisbane next Friday and the second one in Sydney the following Sunday, while trying "to ensure as many players are available" for the two finals of the local competition.
Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia are attempting to join South Australia as qualifiers for the $12m Champions League Twenty20 in India later in the year. Hilditch insisted the national squads were chosen "whilst not compromising the performance and preparation of the Australian team".
In previous campaigns Australia have carried around larger squads of 13 or 14 for the limited-overs series and refused to release anyone for domestic duty. There was anger from the states last year when the one-day internationals were made unavailable by Cricket Australia for the Big Bash preliminary final. However, all players not involved in the Hobart Test have been cleared to appear in the game on Tuesday, which will give the winner a place in the domestic decider against South Australia on January 23 and a spot in the Champions League.
Mitchell Johnson has been rested from the first three ODIs while Queensland's James Hopes is in for the Brisbane opener before being replaced by Western Australia's Adam Voges for the second fixture. "This selection has been made with a view to ensuring we have flexibility within the squad of 12 players to accommodate the different conditions at each venue," Hilditch said.
Johnson has appeared in all six Tests of the local summer and will be needed to guide Australia over a gruelling campaign that takes in series against Pakistan, West Indies and New Zealand on the way to the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies. Johnson will rejoin the national squad in Perth for the final matches of the five-game one-day series against Pakistan on January 29 and 31.
Australia squad Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Brad Haddin (wk), James Hopes (for Brisbane), Adam Voges (for Sydney), Nathan Hauritz, Clint McKay, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo