Lee, Tait and David Hussey in ODI squad
Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and David Hussey have all been given the chance to press for World Cup selection after being named in Australia's squad for the first ODI against England. The match in Melbourne on Sunday will be the only one-day game Australia will play before their 15-man World Cup group needs to be finalised, so there is plenty at stake for several fringe men.
Nathan Hauritz was also chosen, having not been part of Australia's team in any format since he was axed before the first Ashes Test. Hauritz, Xavier Doherty and Steven Smith are all in the 14-man squad, and with the World Cup to be played on spin-friendly subcontinental surfaces, they will all be keen to impress in the 50-over format.
Michael Clarke, who last week announced his retirement from Twenty20s, will captain the side with Ricky Ponting still sidelined by his finger injury. Brad Haddin was picked and will be Australia's first-choice gloveman at the World Cup, despite the selectors giving Tim Paine the vice-captaincy for the two Twenty20s against England this week.
Lee will be aiming to play his first ODI since October 2009, after a severely injury-disrupted 2010, and he has already made clear his ambition to be part of Australia's World Cup defence. He will form part of a quick attack with Tait, Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle forming the rest of the fast-bowling group.
One of the most interesting selections was that of David Hussey, who hasn't played an ODI since a one-off match against Scotland in August 2009, and has been considered a Twenty20 specialist by the national selectors since then. Despite having scored only 143 runs at 23.83 in the split-innings Ryobi Cup this summer, Hussey has been give a chance ahead of his Victorian team-mate Brad Hodge, who is the competition's leading run scorer.
There was no room for Callum Ferguson, although that might be because he is already considered a lock-in for the World Cup, while Shaun Marsh was also overlooked. A new squad will be chosen for the remaining six ODIs against England, and that is likely to comprise the 15-man World Cup group, as it will be their final hit-out before flying to India.
"We've given David Hussey the opportunity to push for inclusion in the World Cup squad as we think he will be well suited for the sub-continent conditions which will be faced in the World Cup," the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, said. "Ricky Ponting is recovering from a finger injury sustained during the Ashes, which gives Michael Clarke another chance to lead the one-day side.
"His vice-captain will be Cameron White, who has had a real impact on this form of the game in the last year and Cameron will be coming off leading Australia in the two Twenty20 internationals this week. We have some explosive fast bowling with Shaun Tait, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle all selected in this squad. Shaun and Brett will therefore have an opportunity to impress in this form of the game before World Cup squad selection.
"We've included Nathan Hauritz, who has been a key part of our one-day side for some time now and Xavier Doherty in this squad, who played well against Sri Lanka at the start of the summer. This gives us a chance to look at both of them prior to the World Cup."
Squad Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Michael Clarke (capt), Cameron White, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Brett Lee, Xavier Doherty, Peter Siddle, Shaun Tait, Doug Bollinger.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo