Australia name Maxwell for Pakistan series
Australia have called up the uncapped allrounder Glenn Maxwell for their ODI and Twenty20 matches against Pakistan in the UAE. The batsman Callum Ferguson has also been recalled to the one-day side, having last played for Australia more than a year ago, and Cameron White has been named in the T20 squad, six months after losing the national captaincy to George Bailey.
Michael Hussey will return in both formats, having missed the tour of England due to the premature birth of his child, and Peter Forrest has been dropped. The selectors have also decided to rest Shane Watson and Ben Hilfenhaus from the one-day portion of the trip - the same squad has been named for the one-off ODI against Afghanistan - and they have deemed that Pat Cummins will be fit enough to take part in the three T20s despite his early exit from the England tour with a side strain.
The squads are also without the veteran Brett Lee, who retired from international cricket on Friday, and the offspinner Nathan Lyon has been overlooked after being part of Australia's T20 squad in the Caribbean. The inclusion of Maxwell, 23, has come after his impressive performances for Hampshire in the Friends Life t20 this year - he has made 178 runs at 59.33 and a strike rate of 178.
In February 2011, Maxwell scored the quickest half-century in Australia's domestic one-day history when he brought up his fifty in 19 balls for Victoria against Tasmania, and his powerful striking has proved useful in all formats. Also a handy offspinner and an agile fieldsman, Maxwell has now emerged as a potential selection for the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September, along with fellow spinners Brad Hogg and Xavier Doherty, who will also play in the UAE.
"Glenn Maxwell is a relatively inexperienced player who debuted for Victoria in 50-over and T20 cricket in the 2009-10 season and in the Sheffield Shield the following season," John Inverarity, the national selector, said. "He's a versatile and lively off-spinning allrounder and brilliant fieldsman that has caught the eye of the national selection panel.
"An injury last January somewhat halted his progress but in recent months he has impressed in the IPL and with Hampshire. Glenn will provide another spin bowler option on the slow, low, turning wickets in the UAE."
The three T20s are Australia's last outings in the format before the World T20 and there are unlikely to be any major changes to the 15-man squad for that tournament. The veteran spinner Hogg, 41, has been in the selectors' plans for the World T20 for six months, while the inclusion of Cummins is not surprising, his recent injury notwithstanding, given the desire for him to be part of the world tournament as well.
The inclusion of White came after he revived his lagging form with a strong display for Deccan Chargers in the IPL this year and for Northamptonshire in the Friends Life t20. A year ago, White was expected to be the man who would lead Australia to the World T20 in Sri Lanka but his form led to a reassessment from Inverarity's selection panel.
"Cameron White has recaptured some form in recent months," Inverarity said. "He scored particularly well in the IPL and with Northamptonshire in the county T20 competition. His experience and striking ability resulted in him winning favour with the NSP and shading Steve Smith for a place. Further, he will be able to provide invaluable support to George Bailey and Shane Watson, captain and vice-captain respectively."
Watson has been named in the T20 squad but not for the ODIs, having been sent home early from the England series due to a calf strain. David Warner will be Michael Clarke's vice-captain for the three ODIs, which will start at 6pm local time to avoid the extreme daytime heat, and the series will also provide an opportunity for Ferguson to resume his international career.
"The ODI squad has a strong development aspect to it," Inverarity said. "Shane Watson and Ben Hilfenhaus have not been included and Brett Lee has retired. This will provide development opportunities for others and allow Shane and Ben to complete a more thorough strength and conditioning program before embarking on a very demanding schedule.
"Callum Ferguson played very well at times for the Australian ODI team in 2009 before a serious knee injury halted his progress at international level. The NSP is keen to facilitate Callum's return to consistent good form and has included him in the squad and anticipates that he will benefit greatly from being in the team environment and any opportunities that may come his way.
"Michael Hussey's return to the fold in both squads will be welcomed. His all-round batting skills, the outstanding manner in which he prepares, and his unrelenting quest for excellence will add greatly to the team dynamic.
"The conditions in the UAE will be very demanding. The pitches will be different and it will be extremely hot, necessitating ODIs beginning at 6pm and ending after 1am. The players will be able to add further to their kitbags of experiences."
ODI squad David Warner, Matthew Wade (wk), Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Callum Ferguson, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc
T20 squad David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade (wk), David Hussey, Michael Hussey, George Bailey (capt), Cameron White, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here