Lehmann out of Ashes squad
Shaun Tait, Brad Haddin and Stuart MacGill have been rewarded with an Ashes berth after fine performances in the Pura Cup while Darren Lehmann, who missed the New Zealand tour, has been left out of the side. Brad Hodge, on the fringes for a while, was also named in the 16-man Test squad. The rest of the squad featured the Australian regulars, with no surprises. Ricky Ponting, as captain, will lead a Test contingent featuring seven batsmen, seven bowlers and two wicketkeepers.
Lehmann's exclusion is a significant decision, for it all but brings to an end a 27-match Test career that began in India in 1998. After a poor run in England he was dropped, but returned to the side and repaid confidence with a string of tall scores. He was then rested from the side after the second Test against Pakistan this season following a spate of low scores.
Tait, at 22, is the youngest member in a side dominated by players aged 30 and above. He was selected for topping the Pura Cup wickets list with his 65 victims at 20.16. His inclusion means that Australia will visit England with a pace-heavy attack consisting of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz and Brett Lee besides Tait. Trevor Hohns, the chairman of the selection panel, said, "He is a quality young quick who has impressed us all with his raw pace. His 65 wickets in the Pura Cup certainly didn't go unnoticed and he will provide us with yet another quality fast-bowling option. It's a great opportunity for him to learn from the experienced group of fast bowlers we have in this squad."
Haddin, a wicketkeeper for New South Wales yet to appear in a Test, was chosen as backup for Adam Gilchrist as Australia will play at least 35 days of cricket during the tour that begins with a Twenty20 game against England on June 13. The selectors also paid heed to MacGill's consistency during the last season, with Hohns saying, "Stuart has done everything asked of him when he's been included in the Test team and continued to push his cause with several fine performances for New South Wales. He is a quality spinning option for us who is quite accustomed to English conditions from his county cricket experiences." MacGill's inclusion was also noteable because Australia have preferred a sole wrist spinner in Shane Warne for some time now. But England's hesitation against quality wrist spinners would have influenced the selectors to pick a second option.
Besides the Test squad, a 15-man one-day side was also announced. The squad included Andrew Symonds - who has spoken of seeking a Test berth as well - Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin.
Test Squad Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Brad Hodge, Simon Katich, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, Brad Haddin, Jason Gillespie, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Michael Kasprowicz, Shaun Tait, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath.
ODI Squad Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Michael Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath.
Natwest International Twenty20 match
Australia v England, 13 June, Rose Bowl
Natwest ODI Series
Australia v Bangladesh, 18 June, Cardiff
Australia v England, 19 June, Bristol
Australia v England (D/N), 23 June, Durham
Australia v Bangladesh, 25 June, Old Trafford
Australia v England, 28 June, Edgbaston
Australia v Bangladesh, 30 June, Canterbury
Final, 2 July, Lord's
Natwest ODI Challenge
Australia v England, 7 July, Headingley
Australia v England, 10 July, Lord's
Australia v England, 12 July, Brit Oval
npower Ashes Test Series
1st Test, 21-25 July, Lords
2nd Test, 4-8 August, Edgbaston
3rd Test, 11-15 August, Old Trafford
4th Test, 25-29 August, Trent Bridge
5th Test, 8-12 September, Brit Oval