Sydney: Australia have announced a 16-man squad led by Ricky Ponting and packed with slow bowlers for next month's tour of India. Fiery pace bowler Brett Lee and upcoming all-rounder Michael Clarke and Nathan Hauritz have been named in the squad. Cricket Australia also added Shane Watson and Cameron White to the squad, which defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 in the recent Test Series in Darwin and Cairns, while Shaun Tait and leg-spinner Stuart MacGill were omitted. Lee will get an opportunity to play his first Test match since the fourth Test against India at Sydney in January this year having been forced to withdraw from Australia's tour of Sri Lanka in February with an ankle injury. Clarke returns to the squad, which will play four Tests in India in October-November, for the first time since Australia's Tour of the West Indies in April 2003. Hauritz has been named for the first time since Australia's three-match series against Pakistan in Colombo and Sharjah in 2002. Both players are still to make their Test debuts. Cameron White has been included in an Australian Test squad for the second time having toured Zimbabwe in May, while Watson's selection marks the first time he has been included in an Australian Test squad since the 2002 tour of South Africa. Great flexibility"This is a well-rounded squad that gives us enormous flexibility and it's one that we're very pleased with and excited about," National Selection Panel Chairman Trevor Hohns said. "One of Australian cricket's greatest challenges remains winning a Test series in India and we're confident that this squad will give us every opportunity to do so". Hohns said Watson's inclusion as a genuine all-rounder would give selectors additional flexibility when assessing the tricky Indian conditions. "Shane has proven his full fitness since coming back from injury and could be particularly valuable as a medium-pace bowling all-rounder if conditions were more suited to playing just the two specialist fast-bowlers. "He had a terrific domestic season as a specialist batsman, but has also done a lot of work on his bowling action since recovering from injury and is an exciting all-round talent," he added. Hohns said "likewise, Michael Clarke has been knocking on the door for around 18 months now and is suited to Indian conditions given his abilities against quality spin-bowling." With the Indian wickets likely to again prove favourable to spinners, Hohns said it was essential that the Australian squad was appropriatly equipped with a variety of slow-bowling options. "We've selected three very different types of spinners in Shane Warne, Cameron White and Nathan Hauritz. We were very keen to include two all-rounders in the squad and Cameron's ability with the bat worked strongly in his favour," Hohns said. (PTI)TeamRicky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Mathew Hayden, Nathan Hauritz, Simon Katich, Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Martyn, GlennMcGrath, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Shane Warne, Cameron White.
Topics : Cricket