Commonwealth Bank Series 2011-12 January 30, 2012

Marsh dropped, Forrest called up

Shaun Marsh has been told to return to the Sheffield Shield to regain his form after being dropped from Australia's ODI squad. The Queensland batsman Peter Forrest has received his first call-up and Ryan Harris will resume his one-day international career after both were named in Australia's 14-man squad for the first three games of the tri-series with India and Sri Lanka.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo, Brad Haddin has been rested from the start of the series, his place taken by the Victoria gloveman Matthew Wade. And there was no place for the allrounder Steve Smith, who the national selector John Inverarity said "needs to do more" to establish himself.

The squad includes four men aged over 34 - Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee and David Hussey - and Inverarity said it was vital for the development of newer players that they had the chance to play alongside such experienced men. He said next year the focus would shift more towards developing a squad for the 2015 World Cup, but for now including a few younger players was adequate.

One of those was Forrest, 26, who is leading the Sheffield Shield run tally this summer with 581 at an average of 58.10, justifying his decision last year to head north from New South Wales for greater opportunities. His Ryobi Cup form this season has been less impressive, with 176 runs at 29.33, but Inverarity said it was a matter of giving Forrest a taste of the top level.

"With Peter Forrest, we've been looking and saying there will be some time in, say, the next three years when we're going to be without Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey," Inverarity said. "So we're looking to develop three or four or five young batsmen and invest some opportunity there. Peter Forrest has had a very good Sheffield Shield season thus far, I think it's three centuries that he's made. He's certainly a player at the moment who we're looking for all-round development."

Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay and Daniel Christian were among the other players who will be given an opportunity, but others weren't so lucky. Shaun Marsh is coming off a horror Test series against India and Inverarity made it clear Marsh had not simply been rested, but needed to go back to Western Australia and prove himself again.

"Shaun as we've all seen is a very talented player," he said. "At the moment he's in a difficult period. We've all seen that. We think the best way that he can recover his form is out of the spotlight in Shield cricket. We look forward to him doing well in that and coming again."

Nor was there room for Smith, who was ranked highly in Cricket Australia's contract list last year but now finds himself out of the team in all three formats. And the South Australia batsman Callum Ferguson was not included, his strong early-season form in the Ryobi Cup seemingly having been overshadowed in the selectors' minds by a disappointing Big Bash League.

"Callum's form this year has not been convincing," Inverarity said. "In terms of his general batsmanship and being in good nick, he's not. I don't think it's wise selecting somebody when they're actually not playing well.

"Steve Smith is a very promising player, with his potential for batting and fielding and bowling, we really hope he will develop in the future. But I think he needs to do more. He needs to do more with his batting and his bowling to establish himself."

The only specialist spinner in the squad is Xavier Doherty, which could mean a greater bowling workload for David Hussey. And in the pace attack, Harris will play his first ODIs since 2010. At the top of the order, Michael Clarke will need to decide who opens with David Warner, with no obvious opening partner named. One possibility is Wade, who will make his ODI debut with Haddin resting for the first three games - and possibly more.

"We've got an open mind about that," Inverarity said when asked if Haddin would return later in the series. "Brad has had a pretty gruelling time, being a wicketkeeper-batsman. He had the Test matches in Sri Lanka and South Africa, against New Zealand, against India, and Brad is due for a bit of a lighter load."

No vice-captain was named with Haddin rested and Shane Watson still unavailable due to injury, and a decision on Clarke's deputy was likely to be made once the squad assembled. Initially the squad won't include Mitchell Marsh, who is joining the group ahead of the third match in order to allow him to play Western Australia's next Shield fixture. The ODI series starts on Sunday at the MCG when Australia take on India.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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