Brett Lee will have the chance to make a late bid for World Cup selection after he was named in a strong Prime Minister's XI side to face England in Canberra on January 10. The team will be led by Tim Paine and also includes Callum Ferguson, Dan Christian, Usman Khawaja and Xavier Doherty who are all bidding to be in the final World Cup squad.
That party has to be named by January 19, early in the seven-match one-day series against England, so the PM XI's match has added importance this year for those on the fringes of the national side. Lee, who is currently playing Twenty20 in New Zealand, last played for Australia in India more than a year ago and was forced out of the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean due to injury.
"The NSP has looked at this team obviously with an eye on the ICC World Cup knowing there are a number of players who are in line to make the final squad of 15," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "It is an exciting side that could well be a snapshot of an Australian outfit in years to come with the experience of Brett Lee playing the role of mentor for our young bowlers.
"Tim Paine has shown he is capable of playing at the highest level but we want to test his fitness after surgery on his broken finger and we are keen to see how he leads a team from behind the stumps. The entire squad have been in good form in domestic cricket and we are excited about seeing them perform against a strong English team."
Josh Hazelwood, who toured England before being ruled of the India tour with a stress fracture on his back, and the left-arm quick Mitchell Starc are also in the team. Starc impressed against Sri Lanka, in Brisbane, when he took 4 for 27 but a side strain has impacted his summer.
Squad Tim Paine, (capt & wk), Callum Ferguson, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Josh Hazlewood, Alex Keath, Usman Khawaja, Brett Lee, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Starc, Tom Thornton (ACT), Josh Anderson (ACT 12th man)