Australia have picked players with Indian Premier League experience in their 14-man squad for the upcoming T20 and ODI series against India. A notable omission is David Warner. Michael Clarke will lead the squad and George Bailey will be the vice-captain. Shane Watson was Clarke's deputy when the Australians toured India earlier this year. The former world champions will play seven ODIs and a T20 match between October 10 and November 2.
Australia will have a new head coach. Steve Rixon, the former New Zealand stumper, will be the team boss in the absence of Darren Lehmann, who has been given time off after the long Ashes series. Cricket Australia executive general manager team performance Pat Howard said: "As with the successful tour of the UAE last year we will have Steve Rixon acting as head coach in India. Darren (Lehmann) has been on the road and away from home for a considerable amount of time. This is a great opportunity for Darren to refresh, work with the States and provide others with opportunities." (Also read: Clarke backs David Warner to bounce back)
"This tour is very significant for the Australian cricket team as we will have the opportunity to go to number one in the ICC ODI rankings. This is all important as we build towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015," Howard added.
The inclusion of players like Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and of course Watson is a clear indication that the selectors have chosen players who are used to Indian conditions. Commenting on the squad, national selector John Inverarity said: "Australia's ODI team can take a great deal of encouragement and confidence from its recent performances in Scotland and England. The India tour squad looks to take this momentum into the forthcoming series and they know they will face stiff opposition from a very talented group of Indian players.
"It was pleasing to see that Aaron Finch and Nathan Coulter-Nile looked comfortable at international level and Shaun Marsh displayed some good form in his return to ODI cricket. Unfortunately for Shaun, he sustained a hamstring injury at Cardiff on September 14 and could not be considered for selection.
"Matthew Wade has been omitted due to lack of form and has been replaced by Brad Haddin, who captured an Ashes series record of dismissals in July and August. There will be a reduced need for pace bowling on this tour so the selectors have reduced the squad from 15 to 14 players and Josh Hazlewood has been omitted. Moises Henriques has been included as a pace bowling all-rounder and will provide the required flexibility in the squad," said Inverarity.
"As previously alluded to, Xavier Doherty has been included in the squad, in place of Fawad Ahmed, as the selectors feel that he is well suited to ODIs in India. Fawad bowled well with his limited opportunities in the rain affected series and better than his figures would suggest," the chief selector said.
After a long Ashes tour Clarke's back condition has flared up again and he has been selected subject to fitness. He has returned to Australia for further assessment and the Aussies hope that it will improve in time for the Indian tour.
The 14-player squad is: Michael Clarke (Captain) NSW, George Bailey (vice-captain) TAS, Nathan Coulter-Nile WA, Xavier Doherty TAS, James Faulkner TAS, Aaron Finch VIC, Brad Haddin NSW, Moises Henriques NSW, Phil Hughes SA, Mitchell Johnson WA, Glenn Maxwell VIC, Clint McKay VIC, Adam Voges WA, Shane Watson NSW.
Head coach: Steve Rixon.
Story first published on: Thursday, 19 September 2013 11:40 IST