Melbourne: With a packed international schedule awaiting them in the next few months, Australian captain Ricky Ponting, pacer Mitchell Johnson and all-rounder Shane Watson were today rested from the 14-member squad for the one-day series against India starting October 17.
“Player workload management is particularly important over the course of the next seven months as we prepare a squad to defend the World Cup in India and the subcontinent and to win the Ashes back from England,” Australia’s National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch said in a statement here.
Hilditch said all the players would be rotated during the next few months to ensure that there is no burnout.
“Each individual player has a program developed in collaboration between the player, the coaching and conditioning staff and the NSP, which will get each player to the end of April 2011 in the best possible physical condition and, we hope, with plenty of Australian success on the field.
“With that in mind, Ricky Ponting will not take part in this one-day series. The NSP has decided as part of the ongoing management of Ricky’s workload he should not take part in this series. The demands of back-to-back Test matches in tough Indian conditions have been taken into consideration,” he explained.
“In addition, Ricky faces a very demanding domestic summer on his return to Australia and will have no other opportunity for a break from the start of the domestic season until after the much-awaited ICC Cricket World Cup in India and the subcontinent, which begins in February next year.
Johnson and Watson too would get a break after the ongoing two-match Test series, the first game of which India won on Tuesday.
“Mitchell Johnson will also have his workload managed and not take part in the series. As Mitchell is now the leader of our bowling attack, and with numerous injuries to our fast bowling stocks at present, it is essential we manage his workload so he can get through the domestic summer and the ICC Cricket World Cup,” Hilditch said.
“Shane Watson also will not take part in the series. The NSP considers it essential that he has a break to ensure that can fulfill his vital role during our domestic summer and of course the World Cup.
“It is essential to the balance of our side that Shane can open the batting and play the all-round role. Shane’s playing and training program has been carefully managed over the last couple of years and we have decided the best way of ensuring he can play this role is for him to miss the one-day component of this series,” he added.
Two uncapped fast bowlers in James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc join Clint McKay and Doug Bollinger as a four-man pace attack for the series starting in Kochi.
“Clint impressed in India last year and James and Mitchell have really impressed since joining the Test squad as standby players. The NSP is sure they will have an impact in international cricket and will seize this opportunity,” Hilditch said.
The comeback men in the team include explosive batsman David Warner, Callum Ferguson and Steve Smith.
“Callum Ferguson makes his return to the Australian side after a serious knee injury. He has been in great form recently and richly deserves the opportunity to resume his position in the Australian one-day side where he performed so well prior to this injury.
“David Warner returns to the one-day squad. The NSP considers he has the potential to have a significant impact at the top of the order in sub-continent conditions and it is an ideal opportunity for David to perform in these conditions prior to selection for the ICC World Cup.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and pacer Peter Siddle remain unavailable due to injuries.
“Both Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle are making extremely good progress in their returns from injury and will resume playing state cricket while this one-day squad is in India. It was felt premature for them to return to international cricket for this series and they are expected to build workload through the beginning of the interstate season,” Hilditch said.
The squad: Michael Clarke (c), Cameron White (vc), Doug Bollinger, Callum Ferguson, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Mike Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Clint McKay, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.