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AUSTRALIA V PAKISTAN ODIS

ODI picks highlight Australian depth

10 January 2017

Allrounder Faulkner looks at the axings and the experience in the current 50-over set-up

If ever the world needed a reminder of why Australia is rightfully regarded as the leading one-day side in the game, it's come via their team selections over the past six weeks.

At various stages this summer, the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, George Bailey – all World Cup winners less than two years ago – Adam Zampa and John Hastings have all been dropped from Australia's best XI.

Maxwell has been overlooked for Australia's past 13 one-day internationals, while Bailey and Finch have been left out of the squad altogether for the upcoming series against Pakistan.

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Hastings and Zampa, meanwhile, were dropped before and during last month's series against New Zealand respectively when each man held the status as the leading one-day wicket-taker in the world for 2016.

But it's the players who have come into the side that have underlined why Australia is the current world champion and world number one, and why they lost just lost 11 of their 29 ODIs in 2016, five of which came when they took a weakened squad to South Africa last October.

The axing of Maxwell earlier this year has given young gun Travis Head a chance to prove himself in the middle order, which he did last month with scores of 52, 57 and 37 against NZ. The absence of Hastings and Zampa against New Zealand opened up a spot for the return of boom paceman Pat Cummins, undoubtedly one of the fastest bowlers in the world when at full fitness. And the dumpings of Finch and Bailey last week have allowed for the inclusions of Usman Khawaja and Chris Lynn, two of the form batsmen in the country.

Allrounder James Faulkner, another World Cup winner who has yo-yoed in and out of the side over the past 12 months, said he empathised with his axed teammates, particularly his long-time state teammate Bailey.

Aug 2016: Faulkner claims ODI hat-trick

But he added that the absence of his Tasmania captain and Finch for the series against Pakistan underlines the depth of one-day talent around the country.

"That's the strength of Australian cricket," Faulkner said in Brisbane today ahead of the opening match of the series at the Gabba on Friday.

"There's so many different players who can fill roles in all three teams. There's some new faces and I'm sure they'll perform well.

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"I'm good mates with George and I've played a lot of cricket with him. I'm sure if I was in his position he'd be disappointed and upset for me, and I'm the same.

"I think he's played 90 games now. That's a lot of experience and he obviously captained Australia ... and captained the T20 team.

"That's a lot of experience we'll lose in the change rooms, but having said that we've also got a hell of a lot sitting there."

Pakistan cash in against CA XI young guns

Faulkner, 26, was named Player of the Match in the World Cup final two years ago but has missed more than half of Australia's matches since then due to a combination of selection, injury and a punishment following a drink-driving charge in 2015.

The left-armer showed signs of returning to his best against the Black Caps last month and is looking for more of the same against the eighth-ranked Pakistan side this month.

With the likes of Cummins, Mitchell Starc, rookie Billy Stanlake and Josh Hazlewood also in the squad, medium-pacer Faulkner is happy to be a point of difference in an attack brimming with express bowlers.

"A lot of that came down to conditions and the make-up of what they wanted to play," Faulkner said of his absence from the side for parts of last year.

"I'll just control what I can control and that's training well and, when I get the opportunity, playing well.

"That's my role, to change the pace. When you've got three guys who can bowl 140kph-plus, it's good fun to watch but you know you're definitely going to be a target.

"I've got to think of different ways to adapt and that's changing the pace, changing the speed of the game at certain times and playing to conditions."

About the Writer

 @martinsmith9994
@martinsmith9994

Martin Smith is a writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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