England in Australia 2013-14 January 19, 2014

Clarke, Haddin, Warner skip Perth


Appealing though another 5-0 sweep of England may sound, Australia's selectors and a few of their players are now turning their attention towards the lofty challenge to be posed in South Africa.

On the eve of the announcement of the squad to face the world's No. 1 Test team it was revealed that none of Michael Clarke, his deputy Brad Haddin, nor opener David Warner would fly to Perth for the penultimate ODI.

The Sydney-based trio will thus join Shane Watson in resting up ahead of the final match of the series in Adelaide on Australia Day, having accomplished the goal of besting England in the limited-overs matches in the quickest time possible. As was the case during the Tests, when rapid wins bought valuable rest time for the fast bowlers, Australia's victories have allowed for extra recuperative days ahead of South Africa.

Matthew Wade has been named as the replacement for Haddin, confirming his status for the time being at least as the second in line for the wicketkeeping spot, while Steven Smith will remain with the squad and is likely to take Clarke's place in the middle order. Mitchell Johnson has been named vice-captain to Bailey for the match in Perth.*

"I'm going to think about spending three days with my beautiful wife and not think about cricket at all," Clarke said when asked if he was now thinking about Graeme Smith's team. "And then I'll come back in Adelaide, meet the boys there and look forward to hopefully winning and having a 5-0 result.

"But we've got plenty of time to worry about South Africa. After this one-day series we've got a four-day practice game over there and some time to make sure we're looking at the opposition. Right now our opposition's England, we want to win 5-0 here.

"We have a goal to become a better one-day team and get back to being No. 1 in the world, and we're not there. We know we can certainly improve in all facets, I know throughout this series we've seen improvement which is a really positive sign for this team, and I think we've shown even with giving guys a rest, especially the Test boys, we've still been able to have success.

"And I'm really confident in George, he's showed a lot of positive signs in regard to his leadership in the T20 format and certainly in the one day format, and I know he can take the guys to Perth and have success there."

Australia's tour party for South Africa is expected to feature 15 names, the feted XI who played in all five Ashes Tests plus back-up from James Faulkner, Alex Doolan, Jackson Bird and one of James Pattinson or Nathan Coulter-Nile. The only player with major reason to sweat over his place is George Bailey, who struggled to make an impact with the bat in his first series and could conceivably make way for the high scoring Phillip Hughes when the squad is named.

Nevertheless, there is remarkably little about the squad on which to speculate, a by-product of the success enjoyed at home this summer and the sorting of wheat from chaff undertaken by the coach Darren Lehmann during the England tour that preceded it.

Bird's probable return, after a back injury and work to remodel his action, will be opportune, ahead of a series likely to be played on the kinds of surfaces that the similarly tall and steady Stuart Clark once excelled.

"We've played some really good cricket, no doubt about it, but I think the selectors will talk about what they think is the best squad to go and play in those conditions against that attack," Clarke said. "And I think we did that throughout this whole series against England. We picked the 11 players we thought were best for the wicket we were playing on and the attack we were playing against and it worked out that we played the same XI in every Test. I don't think the selectors will have anything else in mind, they want to pick a winning squad."

To that end, the fluent Doolan may be in line to move into the top six, perhaps at No. 3 while Shane Watson drops down to No. 6, where his attacking flair as a batsman and pivotal overs with the ball can be utilised more evenly. Doolan has faced Dale Steyn and company once before, stroking his way to 161 not out for Australia A on an admittedly benign pitch at the SCG in late 2012.

Pattinson and Coulter-Nile are vying for the final pace bowling berth, a race in which the former's better overall record and previous Test experience is weighed up against the latter's greater recent load of match bowling and more fluent current rhythm.

Possible Test squad for South Africa
Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Chris Rogers, Alex Doolan, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wkt), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, James Faulkner, Phillip Hughes, Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Squad for fourth ODI Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, George Bailey (capt), Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wk), Daniel Christian, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson (vice-capt), Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay.

* Story updated at 2240 GMT, Sunday January 19, to include squad for fourth ODI.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on January 21, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    andrew-schulz. Hughes dropped 5 times? Count again, 3 times, same as Hayden. Hayden established himself in India, not before, he wasn't in the Australian team on a regular basis . Hayden was scoring runs in the Shield yet was not considered due to his test average of 26. So many posters, not unlike yourself, stated he wasn't up to scratch etc etc. In the meantime he piled on a stack of runs in domestic cricket with a home grown style, defying offers to work on his technique at the Academy. (Sound familiar?). Hughes is scoring a stack of runs in the Shield against the same bowlers other batsmen who don't. So help me understand why the comparisons are poor?

  • Peter on January 20, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    It's not like OZ to take their foot off the throat. Maybe they think England's confidence is that low the reserve players will be able to get the job done

  • Android on January 20, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    I don't know why the 3 players are rested, I want to see whitewashed. odi series

  • subhasish on January 20, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    plz not wade as a WK he played 40 odis with bat avg of 22 he can;t bat in odis and can;t play gud spin pick pain or navil

  • Graham on January 20, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    andrew-schulz; You have a great memory on some past events, yet list Hughes has been dropped 5 times. Its 3 by my count and the last one was unlucky the last time. He is still the best consistent performer shield cricket which to me makes him the best of the contenders.

  • Tim on January 20, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    Currently there are only three test batsmen ranked above Hughes that are younger than him - Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and Ben Stokes - all quality players who will play tests for 10 years baring injury. This is despite Hughes not played since the second test in England. He is a quality player and has time on his side. By the time he is 28, he will come back in the Australian team and dominate test cricket for 6 or so years.

  • M on January 20, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    I said before the start of this Ashes series that P Hughes must tour to South Africa... nothing has changed. As well as C Rogers has performed, I would still strongly consider cutting him for Hughes. Those that keep saying he has technical flaws, you can't have it both ways, you were lauding his unique creativity and ingenuity when it was bringing him runs... He has a very good tehcnique, he must have as he will have scored more centuries in FC cricket than any other player at his age... that can't all be luck.

    I like Bailey, but have to think he didn't do himself any favours... still, would like to think he gets more than 5 matches to show his real worth. The guy who on current form should be worried is Watson. His runs with the bat have come when it didn't matter and he hasn't bowled any overs that Clarke or Smith couldn't have bowled... he didn't play the all-rounder in the last series. Oh and he is so not in form @ ifflat Arxlan

  • andrews on January 20, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    Chris p, very poor comparison between Hayden and Hughes. Hughes has played 26 Tests and been dropped 5 times. Hayden had played 16 Tests by the end of the Indian tour in 2001, and was established as the best opener in the world against pace and spin. Hayden was only ever dropped once, though he was left out in South Africa after filling in for one Test for an injured Mark Taylor. There is no comparison. Hughes is a case all on his own. Likewise xtrafalgar, very interesting count with Langer. He was only ever dropped twice (1993 and 2001 ashes tours), and was also brought back for one Test in Pakistan in 1999 and then left out for a recovered Steve Waugh. I don't call that being dropped.

  • Alex on January 20, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    Play the same team that just won 5-0 against England. Simple.

    Then Bird, Pattinson, Faulkner & either Hughes or Doolan as back ups. Altho why don't we bring a back up keeper? what do we do if Haddin breaks a finger in the warm up or something.

    Pattinson is a far better bowler than NCN, just look at his test record.

  • Colin on January 20, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    Oh please, please, please, not Phil Hughes again ! His technique is clearly sadly lacking, particularly outside off-stump and he is totally inept against spin. If you are not going to give George another chance then at least pick someone with a sound technique, Marsh or Khawaja. Hayden & Langer may have taken a time to reach their potential and produce the goods but you cannot compare their technique with Phil Hughes.

    He must have photos !

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