Symonds given green light for Australia return
Andrew Symonds is back in Australia's plans after a troubled season and is part of the preliminary squad for the World Twenty20 in England in June. Symonds, who has been chosen in the 30-man group with the injured Shaun Tait and Brett Lee, was banned from the South Africa tour due to his off-field problems, which began with him going fishing in Darwin last year.
His selection in the outfit increases his chances of being involved in the limited-overs matches against Pakistan starting later this month. Cricket Australia told the selectors Symonds had shown enough in his rehabilitation programme, which increased following a handful of incidents during the home summer, to be considered solely on fitness and form.
"I'm grateful that I've got the chance to get back to playing for Australia again," Symonds said. "Hopefully the boys go well in South Africa [on Friday] and for the rest of the series because I'd love to be back in the rooms with them again sometime down the track." He will be in South Africa next week to prepare for the IPL with the Deccan Chargers.
"Cricket Australia and Andrew have been speaking, as have members of the team leadership group, and we are satisfied he is committed to doing the things needed of an Australian international cricketer," the chief executive James Sutherland said. Symonds may be back in Australian colours by the end of the month if some of the senior players, including the worn out Michael Hussey, take a break for the Pakistan engagements in the UAE.
Symonds last played for Australia during the second Test against South Africa in December before undergoing knee surgery. He showed his fitness - but not much form - with Queensland over the closing stages of the season.
The Twenty20 squad will be cut to 15 for the 16-day tournament, which doubles as an Ashes warm-up for Australia. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, has looked to the uncapped spinner Aaron Heal while Graham Manou has the inside running as Brad Haddin's understudy following the slump of Luke Ronchi.
"The squad includes Tait, Shane Watson, Lee and Shaun Marsh, who are all currently recovering from injuries," Hilditch said. "Marsh has, from all reports, now made a full recovery from his hamstring injury. The recovery from injury of Lee and Tait will be carefully monitored in the next few weeks." Tait has suffered a long-term hamstring problem while Lee had ankle and foot surgery after limping out of the Boxing Day Test.
Watson, who is returning from back stress fractures, has started light bowling in the nets and is "pretty happy with how I'm going so far". "We've made some minor technical adjustments to my action and I'll be looking to gradually build up my workload over the next six or seven weeks," he said. "I'll have a much better idea during that period as to when I can bowl again in a match, but I'm certainly looking forward to getting into a regular playing routine with Rajasthan in the IPL."
Australia's women's outfit was also announced, with the tournament giving the players a chance to forget their disappointing fourth place in the home World Cup last month. The final squads will be named on May 5.
Australia squad Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Shane Harwood, Nathan Hauritz, Aaron Heal, Moises Henriques, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Ben Laughlin, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Rob Quiney, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
Australia women's squad Sarah Aley, Sarah Andrews, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Melissa Bulow, Jessica Cameron, Jude Coleman, Sarah Coyte, Lauren Ebsary, Sarah Edwards, Rene Farrell, Jodie Fields, Corinne Hall, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Emma Inglis, Jessica Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Shelley Nitschke, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Kirsten Pike, Leah Poulton, Karen Rolton, Lisa Sthalekar, Selena Tainton, Jo-Ann Verrall, Elyse Villani, Julie Woerner.