December 31, 2002

Australia announces World Cup squad

Australian Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland today announced that the National Selection Panel (NSP) has chosen a 15-man squad for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup in Southern Africa in February and March 2003.

The squad is:

Ricky Ponting (captain)TAS28151
Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain)WA31146
Michael BevanNSW32189
Andrew BichelQLD3233
Jason GillespieSA2746
Matthew HaydenQLD3148
Brad HoggWA318
Brett LeeNSW2649
Darren LehmannSA3284
Jimmy MaherQLD2814
Damien MartynWA31107
Glenn McGrathNSW32166
Andrew SymondsQLD2749
Shane WarneVIC33191
Shane WatsonTAS2118

Commenting on the World Cup squad, NSP Chairman Trevor Hohns said: "The twelve players who represented Australia in the first two VB Series matches of the season have been players we have backed for some time so it was always reasonable to expect us to go with those players again here given our good form in one-day cricket over the past year.

"Jimmy Maher has been the extra batsman in the squad since the tour of South Africa earlier this year and he deserves his chance after doing well there and also performing well in one-day cricket again this season.

"Brad Hogg replaced Shane Warne in the VB Series match in Perth and given his performance there, on top of his excellent one-day form of the past few seasons, he deserves his spot as a back-up to Shane.

"Andrew Symonds offers us variety and match-winning potential. His fielding alone makes him stand out from the crowd and there is also the option he gives us with the ball as he can bowl medium pace or off-spin.

"As a batsman he can score at a rapid rate and has the ability to change the course of a game. He is a player we feel is ready to offer us a consistent all-round package.

"Shane Warne has been selected on the basis that he will be fit for the tournament, but if that is not the case we will obviously review that situation.

"The core of the World Cup squad has been retained for the resumption of the VB Series and that will be reviewed at the selectors' discretion. But we expect that Andrew Symonds will get an opportunity at some stage during Australia's remaining matches against England and Sri Lanka," added Hohns.

Australia is defending the ICC Cricket World Cup after winning the previous tournament, in England in 1999. It departs for South Africa on 30 January and starts that defence with a match against the side it beat in the 1999 final, Pakistan, in Johannesburg on 11 February.

Tickets for matches in the VB Series are still available. For matches in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Perth they can be purchased through Ticketmaster7 on 1300 1361 22 or at ; for Sydney matches tickets are available through Ticketek on (02) 92 66 48 00 or at ; and in Adelaide, tickets can be purchased through Venue*Tix on (08) 8223 77 88 or at