MELBOURNE: Australia will be counting on its pace attack, not spin, to beat India in the four-Test series that begins next month, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said on Friday.
Australia named the uncapped Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle in the 15-man squad to provide back-up to the frontline trio of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson for the series. “It’ll depend on conditions, they are spinner friendly, but when we won there last time (in 2004) we won because of our quick bowlers and we think it’ll be the same this time,” Hilditch said. Uncapped spinner
Selectors also included uncapped leg-spinner Bryce McGain, who could make his Test debut at the age of 36, and off-spinner Jason Krejza in the squad to replace the now-retired Stuart MacGill.
All-rounder Andrew Symonds, dropped from the side for the one-day series with Bangladesh in Darwin earlier this month after he missed a team meeting and went fishing instead, was not included.
Hilditch had said earlier in a statement that Symonds would not be considered again until the national selection panel was satisfied he was committed to playing for the team.
The 33-year-old, who was almost sent home from the 2005 Ashes tour of England when he turned up for a match still under the influence of alcohol, has been replaced by fellow all-rounder Shane Watson.
“You miss Andrew Symonds, he’s a great player, but this is just the way it is at the moment,” said Hilditch. “At the moment it’s all about Andrew’s welfare and that process will take as long as it takes.”
Captain Ricky Ponting (wrist) and opening batsman Matthew Hayden (Achille’s tendon) have been included after they returned home injured from the tour of West Indies.
Ponting had surgery while Hayden underwent an extensive rehabilitation programme, with both missing the recent one-day series in Darwin. Iconic series
Hilditch said the series was becoming as important to Australia as the Ashes series with England.
“It’s an iconic series, but I don’t know what the players would say about which is more important.
“We always traditionally say the Ashes and that will always be up there, but this is really up there for the players,” he said.
“We’ve only won there once in 30 years so this’ll be a real test for this team and we’ve picked it to specifically try to win this series.”
The first Test begins in Bangalore on October 9, followed by matches in Mohali (Oct. 17-21), Delhi (Oct. 29-Nov. 2) and in Nagpur (Nov. 5-9).
The squad: Ricky Ponting (capt.), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Bryce McGain, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson.