Hastings in Australia’s World Cup squad, Siddle dropped

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

SYDNEY - Fast bowler Peter Siddle was excluded while inexperienced all-rounder John Hastings found a berth in Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad that was annunced here Tuesday.

Skipper Ricky Ponting and veteran Michael Hussey were named in the squad despite injuries. Ponting is recovering from a finger fracture while Hussey suffered a serious hamstring injury Sunday. Hussey will have his rehabilitation programme determined in the next 24 hours but faces a race against the clock to be fit for Australia’s World Cup defence.

Siddle and Tasmanian spinner Xavier Doherty were the hard luck stories Tuesday morning.

Hastings, who has played two games for Australia, has been drafted in to provide all-round cover for Shane Watson.

National Selection Panel (NSP) chairman Andrew Hilditch said that Hasting’s versatility edged him ahead of Siddle, Australia’s most consistent bowler during the Ashes, and Doherty, the country’s best performing slow bowler in domestic 50-over cricket in recent seasons.

Victorian John Hastings has been selected as he adds variety to our bowling options. We feel his bowling is well suited to subcontinent conditions and his all-round skills with bat and ball add to the flexibility of the squad,” said Hildtich.

Injury prone fast bowler Brett Lee also made the final cut after his impressive comeback to ODI cricket last Sunday and will lead Australia’s pace attack on the subcontinent.

Shaun Tait will tour despite missing Australia’s last match due to back stiffness, while left-arm pair Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson were also picked despite wayward performances in Melbourne. Tim Paine has been named as wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s understudy while also providing support for the top order.

Hilditch said: “One of the major decisions to be made in this squad was ensuring the balance was right in the squad to provide the best cover for all positions in the event of injury, illness or form issues that may arise. It includes the experience of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee, and also some young talent like Steve Smith.

“Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin were all also part of the victorious 2007 ICC cricket World Cup squad that went unbeaten in the Caribbean, so there is plenty of character in this group of Australian cricketers.”

Hilditch said Hauritz is the preferred spin option and his one-day record in India is excellent.

“He will be an important part of our bid for this fourth World Cup. Doug Bollinger has also been a strong performer for us in one-day cricket in India in recent times and we expect him to have a big impact on the tournament. David Hussey has been selected on the back of years of excellent interstate performances in all forms of the game and we feel he will play a crucial role for us in subcontinental conditions and also has the ability to bowl important overs for Australia. Fellow Victorian Cameron White is very important to us in the middle order and he has the ability to dominate with bat.

“Tim Paine richly deserves his selection as he provides a second wicket-keeping option and is also an excellent option for any top order batting position,” he said.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Tim Paine, Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

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