Australia will risk both Brett Lee and Shaun Tait at the World Cup after they were chosen in the 15-man squad for the trophy defence beginning in India next month. Peter Siddle and Xavier Doherty were not included while John Hastings, the Victoria allrounder, was named along with the injured duo of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.
Hussey picked up a serious hamstring tear in Sunday's ODI win over England and underwent surgery today, while Ponting is recovering from an operation on his little finger. The pair will not appear in the rest of the one-day series and Shaun Marsh will supplement the remaining 13 players for the next three matches.
Hussey and Ponting do have time to recover before the tournament reaches the knockout stages, with the quarter finals beginning on March 23. Australia's opening match of the campaign is against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad on February 21.
While Australia are now mid-table in Tests, they remain the No.1 side in the 50-over game and are aiming for their fourth consecutive World Cup win. Seven players who were part of the unbeaten 2007 success in the West Indies will attempt to achieve more glory.
Lee and Tait are returning from long-term elbow injuries but the selectors have kept faith in their speed, bodies and shock value. Lee, 34, captured two wickets on Sunday in his first ODI since October 2009 as he reached 150kph, while Tait missed the game with a back injury. Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger are the other quicks in the unit, with Hastings and Shane Watson enlisted to provide support.
"Hastings has been selected as he adds variety to our bowling options," Hilditch said. "We feel his bowling is well suited to subcontinent conditions and his all-round skills with bat and ball add to the flexibility of the squad."
Nathan Hauritz is the sole recognised spinner but Steven Smith and David Hussey will also be relied on to deliver regular overs. "Nathan is our preferred spin option and his one-day record in India is excellent," Hilditch said. Hauritz has played seven 50-over games in the country, taking four wickets at 70.75. Hilditch's panel did not pick Hauritz during the entire Ashes campaign but now he expects the offspinner to "be an important part of our bid for this fourth World Cup".
David Hussey's mix of hard-hitting batting and part-time offspin have earned him a trip, despite him playing his first one-day game in more than a year on Sunday. "We feel he will play a crucial role for us in sub-continental conditions," Hilditch said. Tim Paine is the back-up wicketkeeper and will also be a standby batsman.
Australia squad Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Cameron White, Tim Paine (wk), Steven Smith, John Hastings, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Doug Bollinger.