Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/1/17/bringing-back-the-big-guns

Bringing back the big guns

UPDATED 12 February, 2013 2:31PM AEST | by Martin Gabor 19

The Australian ODI side welcomes back a host of players ahead of their crunch match against Sri Lanka at the Gabba on Friday.

After missing the first two games of the Commonwealth Bank Series, a revitalised Michael Clarke, Matthew Wade and David Warner return to give the side a timely boost.

Moises Henriques has also earned a recall to the national side.

The talented all-rounder hasn’t played an ODI for Australia since the VB Tour of India in 2009, but the New South Welshmen has impressed selectors with consistent performances in all three forms of the game.

Australian chief selector, John Inverarity, is confident that Henriques will succeed in seam friendly conditions in Brisbane, and at home on Sunday at the SCG.

“Moises Henriques has been on the horizon for some years now, and this is his opportunity, and we really hope that he will come on as a seam bowling all-rounder.”

Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Ben Cutting, Aaron Finch and Brad Haddin all missed out on selection for games three and four, but Inverarity insists that this won’t harm their future endeavours.

“We rested Warner, Clarke and Wade with a clear intention of bringing them back.”

A hamstring injury to Brad Haddin has ruled him out for now.

Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson return, while Ben Cutting has been called up to the squad as cover and if not needed will return to fulfil his KFC T20 Big Bash League final commitments with the Brisbane Heat.

The most hotly contested positions were in the top order, with Phil Hughes winning the battle with a first start century at the MCG.

Finch and Khawaja, who have both excelled on the domestic scene, will likely see more action down the track, as will the ever-improving Steve Smith.

“Selecting them in the squad was a very clear signal from us that they are in contention and we want them to improve and we want them to have some opportunity and we want them to be encouraged by us including them in the squad.”

Despite only playing one match for Australia this series, Khawaja and Smith are still firmly set in the selectors’ radar.

“They seemed to be very pleased with the message and very pleased to have been included and obviously saw with those players coming back that there was a good chance they would be squeezed out.”

A section of the cricketing world has seen the dismissals, especially Khawaja’s, as a lack of faith from selectors. However, Inverarity believes that people should look at the situation in a more positive light. 

“I think they would prefer one game to no games…And it’s not only playing the game, but being in the Australian squad for four or five days and the intensity of training and being with Mickey (Arthur) and the other support staff, it’s a very good experience for them.

Had Khawaja not been selected in the first place, the talented batsman would have been forced to wait until January 27 for Queensland’s next match in the Ryobi Cup.

Clearly, the intense nature of the Australian squad will have only strengthened his desire to return there in the near future.

With Wade, Warner and Hughes likely to bat in the top three, the selectors were also reluctant to include a fourth left-hander (Usman Khawaja) against the Sri Lankan attack.

After seeing the success of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in India last year, selectors are keen to test out Glenn Maxwell’s talent on the international stage.

Inverarity has already noticed a change in the all-rounder’s attitude, and more opportunity with the ball should lead to improved results.

“He’s not a frontline spinner; he’s a batsman who bowls. And as I’ve said many times, we are looking for batsman who can bowl decently.”

With spin-friendly conditions expected for the four Test series starting in February, Maxwell could be a trump card in Australia’s bid to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

After complaining about the likes of Clarke and Warner missing in the first place, it seems the public are now unhappy about their return.

Trying to fit 21 million eager Australians into a final XI must be the hardest job on earth.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 17 January, 2013 9:51AM AEST

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