Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson has been rested for the remainder of the ongoing ODI series against South Africa in order to get prepared for the upcoming four-Test series against India.
As a result, the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, along with spinner Xavier Doherty, have been called up for the last three ODIs.
“He’s been up and about for a while now,” Australia head coach Darren Lehmann said. “We had Zimbabwe, UAE, obviously these two here, it’s just to freshen him up and make sure he’s right to go for the summer. That’s all it is, a chance to do that and also Mitchell Starc comes back in, so we’ve got a pretty good replacement there. That’s just what we do occasionally, especially in the one-day format.”
National selector Rod Marsh also noted that no replacement has been called up for captain Michael Clarke, who has been ruled out for the rest of the ODI series after he re-injured his hamstring during the first ODI in Perth.
“We have chosen not to replace Michael Clarke in the squad with another batsman,” Marsh said. “After considering the situation we believe we have enough batting depth for the next three matches of this series without calling in another player.
“We have decided to add two extra pace options to the squad with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. That also gives us the opportunity to ensure Mitchell Johnson is fresh and well prepared ahead of the first Test against India. Pat Cummins impressed in his return to Australian duty in the recent T20 Series and Mitch Starc has been in good form since his return from the UAE.
“We have opted to add Xavier Doherty to the squad as our spinning option. He is a seasoned campaigner in good form and his ODI record speaks for itself.”
Speaking about Clarke, Lehmann stated that he was hesitant about naming Brad Haddin Test captain just yet. However, it seems that Cricket Australia’s team performance manager Pat Howard has already jumped the gun and spoken to the board about putting Haddin in charge of the Test team.
“There’s been names bandied around all over the place,” Lehmann said. “Young blokes and older guys. End of the day the selection panel and the chairman of selectors will come up with a name and put it to the board and the board ratify that. It ends up being the board decision other than anything else. Whoever that is, they’ll do a good job.
“We know how we want to play so whoever captains will do a good job, we’re not worried about that. We’re aiming for him to play that Shield game before the first Test and he needs to play that for us, so from our point of view he’s ahead of the game, and it looks like he’s going to play that one. But again, until he’s named and played we’re not sure.
“It’s very handy to have that experience. We need that in our side anyway full stop. You need that with the younger guys and the good mix we’ve got at the moment is important. We’d love him to come up.”
It has also been revealed that all-rounder Mitchell Marsh will play the third ODI in Canberra before leaving the national team to represent Western Australia in their Sheffield Shield match against Victoria in Melbourne.
Australia ODI squad: George Bailey (capt), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner, Shane Watson