Australia name squad for the Ashes

Australia have named a 17-man squad for the opening Ashes Test against England at the Gabba, including potential debutants Xavier Doherty, Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson.

Selectors have named the larger squad because of concerns over the fitness of several players, including vice-captain Michael Clarke who is battling back problems and fast bowler Doug Bollinger who only returned from an abdominal injury in grade cricket at the weekend.



But, with selectors also keen to analyse form in this week's Sheffield Shield games and the tour-game clash between Australia A and England in Hobart, the squad will be trimmed back to either 12 or 13 players over the weekend before the players assemble in Brisbane.



All-rounder Steven Smith is also under consideration along with fast bowler Ryan Harris, who grabbed nine wickets for Queensland last week in his comeback from knee surgery but will not play this week because of ongoing management of the joint which is still troubling him.



"The NSP considers it prudent and appropriate to look at the next round of Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield games and the Australia A clash before finalising the team for the first Test of the Vodafone Ashes Series in Brisbane," said National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch.



"From a logistical point of view and with these important games yet to be completed we have named an extended squad of 17 with 10 days before the first Test begins.



"The NSP has been pleased with the performance of the Test side in India, however, we were obviously disappointed in the result, with two losses in games where we felt the result could easily have been different.



"We realise there are some important areas we need to improve on before this [Australian] summer's matches."



Selectors have served notice to incumbent spinner Hauritz that his place in the team is far from assured with the naming of Doherty, the 27-year-old who recently debuted for Australia with four for 6 against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth Bank Series.



"Nathan Hauritz has performed exceptionally well over the past 12 months for Australia and one of the biggest decisions we will need to make is whether we go into the first Test in Brisbane with a right-arm off spinner or with the variation of a left-arm orthodox bowler," Hilditch added.



"Xavier Doherty has been very impressive in both limited-overs and first-class cricket, in particular last season and the start of this season, and it will be a great opportunity for us to observe both of the spinning options in the Sheffield Shield clash between New South Wales and Tasmania at the SCG this week."



Hilditch believes Clarke's back injury could be a blessing in disguise as it will give the vice-captain a much-needed rest before the Ashes.



Clarke will miss New South Wales' Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania this week as he continues to manage a chronic back injury that again flared up during the Blues' state match against Victoria at the weekend.



Clarke is Australia's busiest cricketer, playing in all three forms of the game, and Hilditch reckons a breather is the perfect tonic for the demanding schedule ahead.



"To be perfectly frank I think it would have been a good idea (for Clarke) to miss this Shield game anyway," Hilditch said shortly after naming a 17-man squad for the first Test in Brisbane.



"He's played a lot of cricket. Michael doesn't have as many breaks as some of the other players.



"I would have liked him not to play this Shield game irrespective."



Hilditch also explained the absence of opener Phillip Hughes from the side, citing a simple lack of form.



"Phillip's playing for Australia A (against England in Hobart) this weekend and obviously I've spoken to Phil this morning and he's disappointed, but he needs to score runs," Hilditch said.



"On the other side of the coin we're really happy with our opening partnership (of Shane Watson and Simon Katich) and Phil's primarily trying to crack into that spot.



"We would consider him in a middle order position but at the moment we think the two young players (Khawaja and Ferguson) from Australia A that we've picked are in a bit better form and ready to go."

Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Callum Ferguson, Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Usman Khawaja, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris, Xavier Doherty.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone