The Ashes 2013-14 November 10, 2013

Clarke, Harris and Siddle put on ice

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia's selectors have decided to take no chances with key members of the side for the first Ashes Test, with Michael Clarke, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle all set to rest from this week's Sheffield Shield matches. While England's cricketers will be warming up for the Gabba Test with a four-day match in Sydney this week, several of Australia's Test players will also be enjoying some match practice with a full round of Shield games scheduled.

But Clarke, Harris and Siddle will not be among them, and instead will head to Cricket Australia's new high-performance facility at Allan Border Field in Brisbane to work with the Test team's coaching staff. Clarke has scored 88, 7 and 43 in his two Shield appearances so far this summer but given his ongoing back problem, the selectors and team management are loath to take any risks with his fitness, given the number of times his injury has flared up this year.

"We're very pleased with Michael's preparation ahead of the first Test," the coach Darren Lehmann said. "The plan for his Ashes build-up was to play two Sheffield Shield matches, which he has done successfully. He has spent valuable time in the middle batting and fielding. Importantly his back has coped well in both matches, but we will continue to take a sensible and cautious approach to managing him."

Harris and Siddle will be the spearheads of the Test attack and will be especially important given the long list of injured fast bowlers already this season, including James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Harris and Siddle have each collected five wickets in two Shield matches so far this summer and will be rested from this week's games.

"On the fast bowling front, Ryan and Peter are both in great condition," Lehmann said. "As part of their management plan they will continue their preparation under the guidance national coaching staff in Brisbane over the coming days."

Harris and Siddle are likely to be joined by Mitchell Johnson in the pace attack for the Gabba Test, while the allrounder James Faulkner could also come into consideration if Shane Watson's hamstring injury prevents him from bowling. Australia's squad for the first Test will be announced on Tuesday, before the Shield matches begin.

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  • Android on November 12, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    I think it is a great idea to rest Pup, Ryno and Sid so that they are well rested and in full form for the first test at the Gabba.

  • Bludging on November 12, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    The should rest Warner from the first test and bring in a batsman in his place. Save him for the 20/20 stuff in January

  • John on November 12, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    I think Aus had no choice but to rest Clarke and Harris, both with chronic injury problems hanging over their heads. They'll have to be nursed through the series if they are to play all 5 tests. Not so sure about Siddle- his best quality is his durability and he might have needed more FC practice under his belt.

    Congratulations, ShutTheGate- your first 12 were the 12 chosen and likely Doolan would have been 13th if they'd chosen 13. It was really fairly obvious- they've chosen 10 of the 11 that played the final test in England (Starc was the other and he's injured) and have brought in Johnson (for Starc) and Bailey. With Watson struggling with a hamstring injury I think they might play the same 10 in the first test and leave out Bailey, with Haddin batting #6. Faulkner does give another bowling option and he batted very well in India, plus he's a pain in the backside to the opposition. Always good to have a stirrer in the side, if you can stop him poking the W/K in the eye!

  • James on November 12, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    It would make sense to rest Watson and Johnson as well.

  • Bludging on November 12, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    Good they have not selected Fawad. He came in with a lot of fanfare and is a reasonable leggie. Problem is his stock ball just does not concern batsmen at first class level.

    Maybe over the course of the summer he will pick up his game being in the system. At the moment, he is not in line.

  • Michael on November 11, 2013, 23:03 GMT

    Wow that looks a really dodgy top 6 to me. Smith and Bailey at 5 and 6 really look a place to high. I know Smith had some success in England I still don't really rate him as a batsman. Warner is a caught behind candidate and we all know Watsons fallibility to straight bowling. Haddin is past it and the replacements such as Hughes and Khawaja are iffy. Australia still have the same problems they've had for the last couple of years of not being able to post big scores. All the pressure will once again be on Harris's broad shoulders.

  • Scott on November 11, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    @ShutTheGate, completely agree. I'd be extremely surprised if that's not exactly who they'll name tomorrow. Finally someone talking some sense here!

    @thiruven, yep, that's the team I think will line up in Brisbane too.

    @Ducky610, as I've written before, 3 Tassie seamers right at the top of the stats last season. Best deck to play half your matches on as a seamer. He's played one test, and took a few wickets, but didn't really impress me much.

  • rob on November 11, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Rest them if you must, but if you keep fiddling with it, eventually you'll break it.

  • Kenso on November 11, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    Seen a few interesting test XI here. Heres mine. 1. Rogers - A rock we need guys that can dull the new ball 2. Warner - In form. Our future 3. Clarke - Best bat hes gotta come in high up and show intent 4. Ferguson - This guy deserves a chance 5. Smith - In form 6. Haddin - You have 2 tests hads. No runs and Paine gets in 7. Faulkner - We need additional bowling against the poms and Watson doesnt give it. 8. O'Keefe - best spinner in the country by a country mile + he can hold a bat 9. Johnson - You can afford a wild loose cannon like mitch if you have steady bowlers and options around him 10. Harris - Solid and on fire 11. Siddle

    In my opinion this team bats down to Johnson at 9 (Harris and Sids are no slouches either) and has 5 decent bowling options (which we need). Johnson can come on for short bursts in this set up. Clarke must bat higher than he does and steer the ship

  • ron on November 11, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    dylan good side you are the only one to suggest hartley in the side.always pick the best keeper.half the aussie players need to be reassured about their futures and dropped and dropped for good. no captains mates or look like tarzan bat like jane's in my side 2.cowan 3.doolan 4.clarke 5.smith 6.khajawa 7.faulkner 8.hartley 9.siddle 10.harris 11.hilfenhaus 12th man any gun fielder who can come on anytime remember the last ashes series. remember first test is at the gabba hilfenhaus swings the ball.

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