Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia batsman Phillip Hughes has been snubbed for the first ODI of the tri-series against Zimbabwe despite captain Michael Clarke being ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury.
Hughes, who has been in superb form as of late, was set to play in the match if Clarke had been ruled out, but Australia decided to include more all-rounders and bowlers in the side.
It is also likely that wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin will open the batting with Aaron Finch. David Warner, who is Finch’s regular opening parter, will miss the entire tri-series since he and his fiancée are expecting their first child.
“Looking at the wicket today, we’ve opted to go with the spin option of Nathan Lyon along with the extra all-rounder to add further depth to our batting line-up which means that Phil Hughes has unfortunately missed out on selection,” head coach Darren Lehmann said.
Lehmann added that all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith will be called upon to bowl more throughout the series.
“Very much so, we want them bowling at a higher level – they know that and they’ve been working really hard,” he said. “Nathan’s in the squad because he’s an attacking spinning option which is important for us as well. The wickets look pretty good, I played here years ago and it was a good track.
“It probably spun a bit more in the mornings and then flattened out in the afternoon a bit. I think it will be a case that as the tournament goes on, spin will play more of a part.”