Tag Ashes 2010-11
Australia, despite being the home team, have elected an extended squad for 17 cricketers for Ashes 2010-11 series against England, to cover for injuries and poor form that several of their main players are carrying these days, Although only 12 or 13 will remain at the venue when the test gets underway to allow fringe players continue their form in ongoing domestic season for their state teams..
Ricky Ponting is no where near his prime form but he did enough on Indian tour earlier this year to retain his captainship while Michael Clarke, struggling with recurrence of his decade old back injury, is named the vice-captain of Australian squad.
Michael Hussey and Marcus North are two middle order experienced batters who both need some runs to justify their position in the eleven and keep youngsters like Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson from replacing them. Aussie team will be resisting any major changes at the begining of Ashes 2010-11 but if visitors England can get rid of struggling southpaws, hosts selectors may be forced to allow a few debuts in next 5 high profile tests. Usman Khawaja, a stylish left hander, has been consistent scorer for his state side New South Wales while right handed Callum Ferguson is seen as future of Aussie cricket in both test & ODI format.
Shane Watson will be pleased to see his previous Ashes series partner Simon Katich recover from broken finger that he sustained on Indian tour and these two will have the tough job of giving home team some solid starts. Watson also bowls useful medium pace while Katich is a chinaman bowler which makes them utterly valuable identities in this Aussie Ashes squad 2010. Young Philip Hughes has been ignored.
Brad Haddin made his comeback into International cricket after months fixing his frequent finger problem and showed good form during one day series against Sri Lankans last month. right handed wicket keeper batsman will want to perform in front of home crowd in his first home Ashes series.
Mitchell Johnson will lead Australia's pace attack with Tasmanian outswinger Ben Hilfenhaus who's probably the best bowler in OZ team these days. Doug Bollinger suffered stomach strain last month and has not played even a single first class game but his zeal keeps him in the squad. Ryan Harris is another fast bowler coming out of injury but he picked up career best 9 for 140 for his team Queensland to prove fitness. Harris can tough 150kmph if he finds his rhythm which makes him a major weapon for home team. Peter Siddle is fifth fast bowling option in the squad.
Australia selectors have opted for no less than 3 spinners in their squad, keeping pressure on first choice offspinner Nathan Hauritz with leg spinner Steven Smith and 27 year old left arm orthodox bowler Xavier Doherty. Doherty looked good prospect in his debut ODI against Sri Lankans taking 4 wickets but does OZ team has the guts to give him maiden test cap in Ashes series?