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Australian selectors rely on team depth to tide over batting crisis

IANS 18 Nov 2014, 16:34:32 PM IST

Sydney: Australian national selectors have opted not to redesign an under-pressure cricket team, ahead of the third One-Day International (ODI) of a five-match series against tourists South Africa Wednesday even as captain Michael Clarke remains in grave danger of missing the action due to a debilitating hamstring injury.


The Clarke-less Australia were decimated, Sunday, by an unforgiving Proteas attack in Perth who bundled out the hosts for an humbling 150 in 42 overs, reports Xinhua.

However, chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said Monday that the injured captain was not replaced in the squad and they are relying instead on the depth of talent in the current line-up.

"We have chosen not to replace Michael Clarke in the squad with another batsman," Marsh said.

"After considering the situation we believe we have enough batting depth for the next three matches of this series without calling in another player."

South Africa are ranked second on the International Cricket Council's (ICC) ODI rankings table with Australia sitting one place below them in the third position.

Instead of a batsman, Australia have called up a talented -- though also injury-vexed -- paceman, the lanky New South Welshman (NSW) Pat Cummins.

The 21-year-old Cummins returned to the ODI squad for the first time since June 2012 following robust turnouts for his state and Australia at the Twenty20 level. His NSW teammate Mitchell Starc was also called into the squad following a slight injury that has affected his form and pace.

Most interestingly the spearhead paceman and International Cricketer of the Year Mitchell Johnson was rested for the upcoming critical Test Match Series against world champions India, starting Dec 4.

All-rounder James Faulkner was also included in the squad for the fourth and fifth matches of the series. Batsman Mitchell Marsh has led onto his spot for the third ODI in Canberra.

Marsh, said that selectors wanted to unleash more speed against the Proteas top order.

"We have decided to add two extra pace options to the squad with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. Cummins impressed in his return to Australian duty in the recent T20 Series and Mitch Starc has been in good form since his return from the UAE," he said.

Marsh added that Johnson will now begin to prepare for the Test series against India while Tasmanian spinner Xavier Doherty was given an international lifeline after some solid performances.

"We have opted to add Xavier Doherty to the squad as our spinning option. He is a seasoned campaigner in good form and his ODI record speaks for itself."

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade will remain with the squad due to Brad Haddin's injury. An Australia win in the series will move them to the second place in the ODI standings.