Bracken swings in ahead of Hodge
Nathan Bracken's left-arm swing bowling has earned him a recall after he replaced Brad Hodge in the 12-man squad for the first Test against West Indies at Brisbane. Bracken, who played the last of his three Tests for Australia in 2004, was picked ahead of state rival Stuart Clark as Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, insisted on more options for a wicket that traditionally suits the fast men.
"We felt it was prudent to introduce another paceman to the squad in place of an extra batsman," Hohns said. Stuart MacGill was retained and the decision means Shane Watson will almost certainly be given a short-term run at sealing the allrounder's spot.
Hohns said a decision on whether MacGill and Shane Warne would again be used in tandem depended on the pitch and weather conditions in the lead-up to the start on Thursday. "Since the end of the Super Test in Sydney there has been a lot of speculation about the option of playing the two spinners," he said. "With both Shane and Stuart in the squad we still have that option."
The announcement was another setback for Hodge, who has been the reserve batsman on the tours to India, New Zealand and England without playing a match, and was 12th man for the Super Test. "It's disappointing to miss out on a place, but following our solid start to the season I'm looking forward to playing for Victoria," he said. "Hopefully I can put together some solid performances and put my name up before the selectors again."
Australia squad 1 Matthew Hayden, 2 Justin Langer, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Simon Katich, 6 Shane Watson, 7 Adam Gilchrist (wk), 8 Shane Warne, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Glenn McGrath, 12 Stuart MacGill.