Melbourne: Injured captain Michael Clarke has been named in Australia`s test and one-day squads for next month`s series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates as he battles to recover from a hamstring strain.
Australia`s top batsman, Clarke flew home from Zimbabwe last week after aggravating his left hamstring during a one-day international tournament and had not been cleared to play in the two-test series and three ODIs.
Australia`s selectors are clearly hedging their bets of a recovery, however, and named Clarke captain of the 15-man squad for the tests and also skipper of the 14-member ODI squad released on Monday.
All-rounder Shane Watson has been named in all three test, one-day and T20 squads, after missing the one-day tournament against Zimbabwe and South Africa, having rolled an ankle when he stepped on a ball at training.
Top order batsman David Warner, who was rested from the Zimbabwe tour, has also been named in all three squads.
Selectors have included left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O`Keefe and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in the test squad.
“We have picked Steve O`Keefe as the extra spinner for the test tour," selector Rod Marsh said in a statement issued by Cricket Australia.
"We are unsure what pitch conditions we will encounter in the UAE but we need to be prepared to play two spinners.
"Steve was the highest wicket-taker in the (domestic) Sheffield Shield last season and we are confident he can perform at the next level.
“Mitch Marsh is a player of immense talent and is a bright prospect for the future of Australian cricket. His form with Australia A has been fantastic and he carried that through to the recent Zimbabwe tour. If he gets his opportunity, we know he will make the most of it.”
All-rounder George Bailey, who made his test debut against England at home last year but was dropped for the South Africa series after struggling with the bat, has also been named in the squad with top order batsman Phil Hughes.
Hughes, who has been in and out of the Australian team during his 26-test career, would travel to the UAE earlier than his team mates to spend time working on his batting against spin with the team`s coaching consultant, former Sri Lanka test bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.
Selectors have also named uncapped New South Wales fast bowler Sean Abbott in both the one-day and T20 squads, with exciting young paceman Pat Cummins named in the T20 squad and set for his first international cricket in two years following a serious back injury.
"Pat has worked incredibly hard to come back from injury," Marsh said. "We would love to see him perform well in the UAE and put his hand up for further opportunities this summer."
Australia play Pakistan in an one-off T20I on Oct. 6 before three one-day internationals and two tests.
Australia test squad:
Michael Clarke (captain), Alex Doolan, Phil Hughes, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O`Keefe, Mitchell Johnson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.
Michael Clarke (captain), Sean Abbott, George Bailey, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson
Aaron Finch (captain), Sean Abbott, Cameron Boyce, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Gene Cherry)