May 17, 2002

Thirteen-man squad chosen for TOWER Super Challenge II

Australian Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland today announced that the National Selection Panel (NSP) has chosen the Australian squad for TOWER Super Challenge II, the June one-day international series between Australia and Pakistan in Melbourne and Brisbane.

The squad is:

Ricky Ponting (captain)TAS27138
Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain)WA30133
Michael BevanNSW31175
Andrew BichelQLD3127
Jason GillespieSA2735
Matthew HaydenQLD3035
Brett LeeNSW2538
Darren LehmannSA3275
Jimmy MaherQLD287
Damien MartynWA3094
Glenn McGrathNSW32153
Shane WarneVIC32178
Shane WatsonTAS204
Stephen BernardNSWTeam Manager
John BuchananQLDCoach
Errol AlcottNSWPhysiotherapist
Jock CampbellNSWPhysical Performance Manager
Mike WalshVICAssistant Team Manager/Cricket Analyst

Victorian all-rounder Ian Harvey and young Queensland off-spinner Nathan Hauritz are the only two players left out from the Australian squad that defeated South Africa 5-1 in South Africa last month.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said the 13-man squad should provide Australia with sufficient depth for the three-match series.

"In recent years Pakistan has proved to be a tough opponent at one-day international level, so we had to think long and hard about choosing the squad that will help us win this series," Hohns said.

"Given the success we enjoyed in South Africa, the selected squad has barely changed, however the series is only short, so 13 players should be adequate," he said.

Hohns said the decision to overlook Hauritz resulted from the need to reduce the size of the squad.

"Nathan is still very much in the mix for selection later in the year, as his form in South Africa was encouraging," Hohns said.

"He has a very bright future at the international level, but we felt selecting the one spinner in Shane Warne was enough for this series."

Ian Harvey has been left out of the squad following the Travelex Tour of South Africa.

The all-rounder, who is nursing a broken finger sustained during a limited-overs match for English county Gloucestershire, was expected to be fit for the series.

TOWER Super Challenge II will take place under the roof at Melbourne's Colonial Stadium on 12 and 15 June and at The Gabba in Brisbane on 19 June.

Five players selected in the Australian squad did not take part in the inaugural Super Challenge series in August 2000, which saw Australia take on South Africa in the first international series played in an enclosed stadium.

Andrew Bichel, Matthew Hayden, Darren Lehmann, Jimmy Maher and Shane Watson will all play indoors at Colonial Stadium for the first time.

Watson, 20, who made his one-day international debut on the recent Travelex Tour of South Africa said he was excited by the opportunity of playing at Colonial Stadium.

"The past six months have been a whirlwind. Touring South Africa with the Australian side was the highlight of my career to date, so I just can't wait to play international cricket again," Watson said.

"I have only experienced Colonial Stadium as a spectator, so to play there will be a great thrill, particularly as it will be the first time I have represented Australia in front of a home crowd," he said.

The umpires for the series are International Cricket Council (ICC) appointee Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe), Daryl Harper (Australia), Darrell Hair (Australia) and Simon Taufel (Australia).

Former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd, is the ICC match referee.

The Australia/Pakistan head-to-head record suggests the series will be closely contested. From the 60 one-day internationals played between the two nations, Australia has won 33 and lost 24, with one tie and two matches finishing without a result.

Most recently, the two sides met in the final of the 2001 tri-angular series in the United Kingdom that also involved England. Pakistan was also Australia's opposition in the final of the 1999 Word Cup at Lord's, which Australia won.

Pakistan will arrive on Australian shores in early June in good form. Waqar Younis' team dominated the three-game, one-day international series against New Zealand in April, winning it 3-0. Pakistan also won the recent Test against New Zealand in Lahore by an innings and 324 runs.

The Pakistani squad is expected to be announced at the end of May