Australia’s limited-overs squad for the upcoming series in the UK has a mix of old and new about it, with one player in particular exciting Australia coach Darren Lehmann.
In what will be a dream come true for Fawad Ahmed, Lehmann says the transition from becoming an Australian citizen to representing Australia is a great story in itself.
QUICK SINGLE: Limited overs squad announced
But the leg-spinner is picked to do a job and the dry English conditions should assist his style of bowling.
“We want to see what he’s got a the next level,” said Lehmann.
“His good form for Victoria in the Ryobi One-Day Cup last season and recent performances on the Australia A tour is the reason he got picked.
“I’m really pleased for him and where he’s come from and his background, but now he’s got to play well for Australia and that’s what we want to see.”
Shaun Marsh’s selection has come off the back of match-winning performances also in South Africa on the Australia A tour.
Marsh made a match-winning 136 not out in a heavy run chase against South Africa A, then backed it up three games later with a blistering 96.
His form for the ‘A’ side and the Perth Scorchers in the KFC T20 Big Bash League, where he was leading run scorer last summer, fill Lehmann with the confidence that he’s turned the corner.
“Shaun’s a player of real promise who has probably failed to deliver so far, but I don’t think that’ll be the case anymore.
“Having coached him at Kings XI [in the IPL] where he was very good, and against him, I know first-hand what a talent he is, and a good young man as well.”
Earmarked as a future superstar for some time now is New South Wales quick Josh Hazlewood, and once again the boy from Bendemeer will get his chance to prove he’s ready for international cricket.
Debuting for Australia in 2010, Hazlewood has battled form and injury to return to the national set-up, a place the coach believes he’ll be comfortable in.
“Josh has a great chance to enhance his already impressive reputation with a couple of games here.
“These one-dayers are very important for us to get into winning ways and to bring stars of the future, like Josh, into a winning environment.
“Any game for Australia we want to win, so from my point of view and the team’s point of view it’ll be about creating that atmosphere where we want to go out there and win every game we play.”
Finally, Aaron Finch has another opportunity to cement a position in the limited overs teams after failing to capitalise last summer.
Lehmann says Finch is a chance to open the batting in the T20 Internationals, but his ODI spot is far from certain at this stage.
“His form for Victoria was very good and he had a run at it last year [in the One-Day series] and probably didn’t grab his chance, but here he gets another because we believe he’s a player of the future.
“We just need to transform his excellent first-class form into international performances which I’m sure we can do.”
While the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand is still around 18 months away, Lehmann says the selectors have been planning for the tournament for some time.
“Every match between now and the World Cup is an opportunity for players to press their claims for selection and I’m looking forward to seeing who puts their hand up with strong performances."
Squad: Michael Clarke, George Bailey, Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 15 August, 2013 3:43PM AEDT