Australia give Siddle and Hilfenhaus a break
Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus will be rested for Australia's limited-overs contests against South Africa to protect them ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup and the Ashes. Both bowlers were crucial weapons in Australia's Test series win, which was sealed in Durban on Tuesday, and will have a chance to recover from niggling foot and back problems.
"Both Peter and Ben had significant injuries during the 2008 off-season," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "Since returning to cricket they have had a demanding and heavy Australian season and will have completed three back-to-back Test matches in South Africa. The recommendation of the coaching and fitness staff was that they have time off now to allow them to recuperate and then commence a structured training program in ideal preparation, potentially for the World Twenty20 and the Ashes."
The benefactors of the decision are Brett Geeves, the Tasmania fast bowler, and Queensland's Ben Laughlin. Geeves played an ODI against Bangladesh last year and is with the Test squad in South Africa while Laughlin, the son of the three-Test player Trevor Laughlin, has impressed during a strong domestic campaign. He captured 23 wickets in the FR Cup and and will be part of the unit for the two Twenty20s and the five ODIs.
"In addition to his bowling Brett is a potentially explosive batsman and fielder and adds to the versatility of the one-day side," Hilditch said. "It is a well-deserved opportunity.
"Ben has had an extremely good summer for Queensland and was instrumental in their one-day final victory. Ben will add to the versatility of the Australian bowling line-up as we continue to look at options progressing forward to the 2011 World Cup."
Shane Harwood, the 35-year-old Victorian, gets the chance for a second Twenty20 international after being included for the two matches in Johannesburg and Centurion at the end of the month. He played a game in 2007 and has recovered from an ankle injury to take his place in the Sheffield Shield final against Queensland from Friday. David Warner, who holds his Twenty20 spot, will fly home with Harwood after the two matches.
Andrew Symonds remains on the outer while the opener Shaun Marsh has not been chosen after tearing a hamstring against New Zealand. Hilditch expects Marsh to be fit for the Pakistan series in late April.
Australia squad Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin (wk), David Warner, Ricky Ponting (capt), David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Adam Voges, Cameron White, Callum Ferguson, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Laughlin, Brett Geeves, Shane Harwood.