Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
In a rather surprising move, Australia have decided to leave all-rounder Steven Smith out of the squad for the first ODI against South Africa in Perth.
Smith, who made 101, 12 and 77 in the recent ODI series against Pakistan, has been sidelined in favour of fellow all-rounder Shane Watson.
“A couple of tough selections there from the selectors, a couple of tough decisions,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said. “As we know, we’ve got to play our best. We’re playing against a fantastic team and we have to be on top of our game to beat them. Hopefully we can start this really well tomorrow.”
Clarke also noted that he and the national selectors will use this series to select the squad for the tri-series against India and England at the beginning of next year.
“I think we’ve probably got this series to give guys an opportunity if the selectors are still not certain on their 15,” Clarke said. “I’ve voiced my opinion to (selectors) Rod (Marsh) and to Darren (Lehmann) in regards to – I’d love to see the squad selected for the tri-series after the Australian summer, I’d love to see that be our one-day World Cup squad of 15 players, so we can spend that time in preparation for the World Cup.
“I think the fact that we’ve only picked a team for two games here, and then the selectors will get together and pick another team for maybe two or three (games), I’m not really sure if they’re still looking at couple of positions.
“It’s always tough because there’s so much cricket to play leading into the World Cup.
“They’ve (the selectors) picked what they feel is the best squad they feel to have success in Perth in these conditions, and I’m pretty sure they’ll reassess for the next three games.”
Australia’s squad for first ODI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazelwood, Steve Smith (12th)