Bailey, Lyon picked for Caribbean ODIs
George Bailey and Nathan Lyon will both be in contention for one-day international debuts after being named in Australia's squad for the tour of the West Indies. The selectors announced a 16-man group for the five ODIs that begin the tour in mid-March and a 13-man squad for the two T20s that follow.
The wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was named in the one-day squad as the backup for the new limited-overs No.1 Matthew Wade. The inclusions of Haddin, Bailey and Lyon were the major changes from the squad taking part in the final stages of the Commonwealth Bank Series, and there was no room in the attack for Ryan Harris or Mitchell Starc.
As the national Twenty20 captain, Bailey was due to tour for two matches, but he will now take on the mantle of reserve ODI batsman. His selection came after a Man-of-the-Match performance in the Ryobi Cup final, when his captain's hundred narrowly failed to earn Tasmania the title, and the national selector John Inverarity said Bailey would also be in contention for a place in the Test squad.
"In the final and the other Ryobi Cup games and in the Sheffield Shield, he's probably in the form of his life," Inverarity said. "Post him being in the T20 side, whatever's happened there seemed to have been a real boost to his confidence. He's playing exceptionally well at the moment and very much deserves his opportunity in that side.
"We realise that some time in the next year or two or whenever, we won't have Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey in the Test team. So what we're trying to do is develop players for both forms but not least for Test cricket. We had that very much in mind with Peter Forrest ... That door is open for George also, to play in the one-dayers and see how he goes and he's certainly right up there as one of the players we might be looking to for the future."
While Bailey's Test chances remain in the hands of the selectors, Lyon will certainly be part of Australia's squad in all three formats. Although he has played 10 Tests and is yet to make his one-day or T20 debut for Australia, it was in the shortest format that Lyon first made his name for South Australia last summer, and he is well qualified for a position alongside Xavier Doherty in the squad.
"Nathan Lyon caught the eye of the cricket community and the national selectors because of his performances in T20," Inverarity said. "That's where he first caught the eye. He was selected as a fine offspin bowler by the previous panel and that was a very good selection that they made. Towards the end of the [India] Test series he had a sore quad, so essentially he didn't come to mind as a possible selection [for the T20s or CB Series]."
There was no room for Brad Hogg, who came out of international retirement in Australia's T20s against India earlier this month, but Inverarity said that was a pre-planned selection to allow Lyon some limited-overs exposure. He said it was likely Australia would take Hogg, Doherty and Lyon to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20 later this year as a diverse three-man spin attack.
Michael Hussey has been recalled to the T20 squad after resting from the two matches against India, and having not played for Australia in the format in nearly two years. Forrest was also named in the T20 squad but Inverarity made it clear he was a backup batsman only, and was not considered part of Australia's best batting line-up in the format.
Aaron Finch and Travis Birt have also found themselves out of Australia's preferred T20 side and face a challenge to force their way into contention for the World Twenty20 in September. And while the left-arm fast bowler Starc was not officially included, Inverarity said he would travel with the squad and work with the bowling coach Craig McDermott as a learning opportunity.
"Mitchell Starc has not been selected as a member of this squad," he said. "However, Mitchell will travel with this group as a further development opportunity and spend valuable time around the Australian squad in the West Indies."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here