Ashes 2009: 50 Days To Go And Australia Name Squad

Ashes 2009: 50 Days To Go And Australia Name Squad
Ashes 2009: 50 Days To Go And Australia Name Squad
©REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA). Picture supplied by Action Images

50 days ahead of the series commencing in Cardiff, Australia have named their 16-man squad to take on England in the Ashes.

The squad contains a blend of youth of experience, with 20-year-old opening batsman Phillip Hughes the youngest member while 30-year-old wicket-keeper Gary Manou has been named in a Test squad for the first time, travelling as understudy to Brad Haddin.

Andrew Symonds misses out, Andrew McDonald and Shane Watson (subjct to fitness) the two all-rounders that the selectors have chosen to go in with.

Brett Lee lead the pace attack, backed up by Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Stuart Clark and Ben Hilfenhaus while Nathan Hauritz is the only specialist spinner in the squad.

National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch said: "The Ashes squad contains an exciting blend of experience and youth. The core of the squad is made up of the side which successfully won the Test series in South Africa and includes Phillip Hughes and Marcus North who both scored hundreds on debut. 

"The young fast bowling group which performed so well in South Africa of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus will all be taking part in their first Ashes tour to England and as shown in South Africa, they have the skills to perform at the international level and will be well suited to English conditions. 

"The bowling group has been further strengthened by the return from injury of Brett Lee and Stuart Clark.

"Andrew McDonald played a very important role in both Australia's victory in the last Test match in Australia and on the recent series in South Africa and has been rewarded with his first Ashes squad selection.

"Shane Watson has been named in the squad subject to fitness, but that is not expected to be a serious issue as he is recovering from a very mild groin strain at present and is expected to be fully fit for the ICC World Twenty20 in the UK and the commencement of the Ashes. Shane in our view has the ability to bat anywhere in the order and enables us to have
a batsman in the top six who can provide quality pace support for the fast bowling group.

"Graham Manou has also been rewarded with his first squad selection for an Australian team following very strong interstate performances in all forms of the game over the last few seasons.

"We expect the Ashes to be an exciting and riveting encounter, consistent with the great tradition of rivalry between England and Australia.  Attempting to beat England on home soil is a great challenge for this young Australian squad and both Ricky and the squad are looking forward to it immensely.  It promises to be a very exciting series."

Australia: RIcky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Andrew McDonald, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson

© Cricket World 2009