New look Australia face Ireland in one-off ODI game
Australia play their first one-day international as world champions in Belfast on Thursday with a new captain and three uncapped players in the 14-man squad which meets Ireland in a one-off game at Stormont.
Belfast: Australia play their first one-day international as world champions in Belfast on Thursday with a new captain and three uncapped players in the 14-man squad which meets Ireland in a one-off game at Stormont.
Although their World Cup victory was just five months ago, it will be Steve Smith leading Australia, not Michael Clarke and Matthew Wade keeping wicket instead of Brad Haddin who has retired from one-day cricket.
The newcomers are Joe Burns, who is in line to replace Aaron Finch at the top of the order, while the World Cup opener recovers from a fractured foot, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis who come in for the suspended James Faulkner, and the sole specialist spinner in the squad is Ashton Agar, returning to an Australia side for the first time since the 2013 Ashes tour.
Five of the World Cup winning team - and eight of the squad - are still around despite Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood being sent home to prepare for the domestic season, leaving the world No 1 ODI bowler Mitchell Starc to lead the attack.
Three years ago, on their last visit to Belfast, rain washed out the game after just 10.4 overs but not before Pat Cummins was clocked at 94mph, and with Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson both returning to the squad for the first time this year, Cummins (22), who took five wickets in his two World Cup games, will likely share the new ball with Starc.
Shane Watson may have lost his Test place but he is still a key member of the one-day squad, along with Glenn Maxwell who is the only Australia batsman in the world`s ODI top 10, just ahead of former captain George Bailey with Smith down in 13th place.
The bowling is even starker with Maxwell, at No 70, rated the second best Australia bowler in this squad so they have much to prove.
The game against Ireland, the leading Associate nation which defeated West Indies and Zimbabwe at this year`s World Cup, may be seen as a `warm-up` for the five-match series against England which starts next week but the world champions will have to be fully focused against an experienced team which revels in the underdogs tag.
Captain William Porterfield is one of six playing regular county cricket while Andrew Balbirnie, who scored 97 in the Zimbabwe win and slow left armer George Dockrell are with Middlesex and Somerset respectively.
All 13 were in the World Cup squad as new coach John Bracewell, the former New Zealand off spinner who took over from Phil Simmons, eases himself into the job.
Australia is one of the teams Ireland have yet to beat, but five years ago, in Dublin, Porterfield and Paul Stirling put on 80 for the first wicket, in reply to Australia`s 231 for nine, to empty the hospitality tents.
The introduction of James Hopes sparked a collapse which saw all 10 wickets fall for 112 but if Ireland get into the same position again, they will be confident of finishing the job this time.
Squads: Ireland: W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, G Dockrell, E Joyce, J Mooney, T Murtagh, A McBrine, K O`Brien, N O`Brien, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young
Australia: S Smith (capt), A Agar, G Bailey, J Burns, N Coulter-Nile, P Cummins, G Maxwell, M Marsh, J Pattinson, M Starc, M Stoinis, M Wade, S Watson, D Warner