Media Release February 20, 2004

Cricket Australia announces 15-man Test squad for Travelex tour of Sri Lanka

Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel (NSP) has today named a 15-man Test squad for the Travelex tour of Sri Lanka, beginning in Galle on Monday March 8.

The squad is:

 STATEAGEMATCHES
Ricky Ponting (captain)TAS2975
Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain)WA3251
Jason GillespieSA2849
Matthew HaydenQLD3250
Michael KasprowiczQLD3117
Simon KatichNSW286
Justin LangerWA3371
Brett LeeNSW2737
Darren LehmannSA3415
Damien MartynWA3239
Stuart MacGillNSW3230
Andrew SymondsQLD280
Shane WarneVIC34107
Brad WilliamsWA293
Wade SeccombeQLD320

Queensland all-rounder Andrew Symonds has been included in the Test squad for the first time, while Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz and Darren Lehmann return after respective spells on the sideline.

Warne returns following a 12-month suspension for taking a banned-substance, while Lehmann will get the opportunity to play his first match since the first Test against Zimbabwe in Perth last year.

Kasprowicz, who has been retained from Australia's one-day international team, returns to the Test squad for the first time in almost three years. His last appearance for Australia was during the epic second Test match against India in Kolkata in March 2001.

Queenslander Wade Seccombe has also been named as the squad's replacement wicket-keeper, having previously toured with the Australian Test side in England in 2001.

Changes to the squad which drew the recent 3-sponsored Test series against India include Steve Waugh (retired), Andrew Bichel, and Nathan Bracken.

Tasmanian Ricky Ponting will replace Waugh as captain, while Adam Gilchrist has assumed the vice-captaincy duties.

NSP Chairman Trevor Hohns said the selected squad represented a new and exciting era for Australian cricket.

"At this time of year Sri Lanka can be one of the most challenging places in the world to tour, but we're confident that this squad has both the experience and the ability to perform strongly in the conditions," Hohns said.

"Andrew Symonds has had an outstanding year in the one-day arena, and we think it's timely that he now gets his opportunity to prove himself in Test cricket.

"He brings an extremely versatile package to the group, and gives us several different options in these conditions."

"Wade Seccombe has been included as cover for Adam Gilchrist, and at this stage we feel that he's the more suitable Test match option, with Brad Haddin preferred for the one-day format."

After making a successful comeback with Victoria, Hohns said Warne's inclusion was testament to his world-class qualities.

"Despite his 12-month absence, Shane is still one of the best spin bowlers in the world, and I'm sure he'll have an important role to play on Sri Lanka's flat, turning wickets," Hohns said.

"He's clearly worked extremely hard on his fitness over the last few months, and we've been impressed with way he has bowled for Victoria since his return.

"There's no doubt that Shane is a great asset for Australian cricket. We're lucky to have two leg spinners of the highest quality in the Australian squad.

"Stuart MacGill's performances over the last 12-months have been second to none and we're confident both players can work together in tandem."

Hohns said both Lehmann and Kasprowicz were proven performers on sub-continent wickets, and would be warmly welcomed back into the squad.

"Darren is the type of batsman who could really trouble the Sri Lankan attack," Hohns said.

"We all know how good he is against the spinners, but his experience and leadership will be of equal significance.

"He's worked hard to regain his fitness following injury and his form in both domestic competitions this year has been strong.

"Michael has been out of the Test squad for a while now, but has consistently been a prolific wicket-taker for Queensland in the Pura Cup, and has previously performed well in these types of conditions. He's currently bowling as well as anyone in Australia and deserves his chance.

"Andy Bichel and Nathan Bracken are unlucky to miss out, and we still need to see Glenn McGrath bowl in first-class match conditions before he can be considered for selection."

The performances of players such as Michael Clarke, Brad Hodge and Matthew Elliott have certainly been noted, but unfortunately there's only room for so many players."

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