Australia have named their 13-man squad to do battle with the Proteas in the first two ODIs of the five-match series.
The spin bowling options of Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty have been replaced by in-form seamers Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh return to action after all three nursed injuries during the series against Pakistan that Australia won 3-0. Finally, the first choice wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has been given a rest, which provides Matthew Wade with an opportunity to take the gloves.
Cricket Australia explained that Mitchell Starc and James Faulker were excluded from the squad as part of a bigger picture. They will both be given game time in the domestic four-day competition so that they are ready for Australia’s first Test of the summer in December against India.
The chairman of Australia’s national selection panel, Rod Marsh, shed some light on the thinking behind the 13-man squad selected to take on the No 1 ranked South Africa.
‘We are continuing to keep a close eye on players we feel could have a significant role to play in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup and many of these players have been rewarded with selection in this initial squad to face South Africa,’ said Marsh.
‘At this stage, the squad is only for the first two matches of the series and balances out player preparation for long and short form cricket as we build into a big summer. This squad caters for the WACA’s renowned fast and bouncy surface with six pace bowling options.’
Here is the Australia ODI squad that will face the Proteas in Perth: Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner, Shane Watson