Michael Clarke to lead Australia to Zimbabwe

Last updated 16:13 04/08/2014
Michael Clarke
READY TO TOUR: Michael Clarke will lead an Australian team to Zimbabwe for the first time in a decade.

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Michael Clarke will lead Australia on its first cricket tour to Zimbabwe in a decade for an international tri-series also involving South Africa starting later this month.

The 14-man limited-overs squad is close to full strength, with Clarke, vice-captain George Bailey, veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, paceman Mitchell Johnson and allrounder Shane Watson all included.

Aggressive opener David Warner has been rested for the series and top-order batsman Phil Hughes didn't make the cut despite his double-century for Australia A last week.

''Phillip Hughes, Xavier Doherty and Clint McKay can all consider themselves unlucky,'' chief selector Rod Marsh said on Monday.

''We would have loved to pick Phillip, but it's quite difficult to find the spot for him with a strong batting line-up. He was in superb form during the recent Australia A one-day matches and the selection panel will certainly be continuing to watch him closely.''

Spinner Nathan Lyon has been recalled to the ODI squad for the first time since 2012, while fast bowlers Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson forced their way into the team on the basis of performances for Australia's second-string lineup.

Australia could play 18 ODIs between late August and the start of the World Cup it is co-hosting with New Zealand in February, with the Zimbabwe series followed by series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and at home against South Africa and India.

''This ... is another important step in our preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup,'' Marsh said.

''So we are pleased that there continues to be strong competition for places. We have introduced a number of players into this squad who provide plenty of options with bat and ball.''

Australia plays Zimbabwe on August 25 and 31, and South Africa on August 27 and September 2, with the top two teams meeting in a final at Harare on September 6.

Australia Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson.

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- AP

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