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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Check out Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test

Check out Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test

November 20, 2013 09:05 IST

Michael Clarke (captain)

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MICHAEL CLARKE (CAPTAIN)

Right-handed batsman

Age: 32. Tests: 97. Batting average: 52.08

Michael Clarke's form with the bat since replacing Ricky Ponting as captain in 2011 has been little short of stupendous and Australia will again need him at his very best to give themselves any chance of winning the series.

The man nicknamed 'Pup' became the first batsman to score four double-centuries in a calendar year in 2012 and he grabbed a century in the lost series against India and England this year.

The traditional flare-up of his long-term back injury has disrupted his preparations for both Ashes series this year but he is confident of playing all five Tests.

His creative approach to captaincy has many admirers but he continues to operate against a backdrop of rumours about his poor man-management within the team.

Well fancy that: Having banked A$5.5 million ($5.32 million) in 2012, Clarke was the highest earning Australia-based sportsman, according to business magazine BRW.


Image: Michael Clarke
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Brad Haddin

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BRAD HADDIN (VICE-CAPTAIN)

Wicketkeeper/right-handed batsman

Age: 36. Tests: 49. Batting average: 33.97.

A tough competitor with a sure pair of hands and capable of blistering counter-attacks with the bat, Brad Haddin regained his place as Australia's first-choice wicketkeeper before the first Ashes series of the year.

Two half centuries in the five tests in England were not the return Australia were looking for but his Test experience, second only to Clarke and Johnson, and leadership skills were enough to retain him his place for the second series.

Well fancy that: Haddin became Australia's 400th Test cricketer when he made his debut in 2008.


Image: Brad Haddin
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Shane Watson

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SHANE WATSON

All rounder (right-arm medium pace, right-handed bat)

Age: 32. Tests: 46. Batting average: 36.12. Bowling: 64 wickets @ 31.92

Injury-plagued and controversial, the barrel-chested Shane Watson's presence in the squad will probably always be contentious but innings like the 176 he scored in the fifth Ashes test earlier in the year makes him a certain pick.

The hamstring injury he sustained on the recent one-day tour of India means he might not be able to bowl in the first Test but he will almost certainly bat at number three.

Watson has been working on his susceptibility to lbw and is determined to improve on his poor conversion rate, having scored 20 Test half centuries but on three tons.

Well fancy that: Watson has two Schnauzer Maltese dogs named Bobbi and Clappo.


Image: Shane Watson
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Chris Rogers

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CHRIS ROGERS

Left-handed batsman

Age: 36. Tests: Six. Batting average: 35.09

Opener Chris Rogers had played only one previous Test when he made his Ashes debut earlier this year but sealed his place in the side for the return series with 367 runs and a century in the fourth Test.

A first-class average a shade under 50 earned him his initial call-up and he has again been in the runs for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield this month.

He will be expected to be the steady man in the opening partnership, allowing David Warner the freedom to take on the English bowlers.

Well fancy that: Rogers scored a double century against Australia while playing for Leicestershire in 2005.


Image: Chris Rogers
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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David Warner

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DAVID WARNER

Left-handed batsman

Age: 27. Tests: 22. Batting average: 36.86

The flamboyant opening batsman is capable of destroying any opposition attack when on song but has been plagued by off-field problems this year.

Suspended for his bar-room fracas with England's Joe Root, the lefthander missed the opening two matches of the first Ashes series of the year.

Despite another ban, this time suspended, for skipping a club match and being photographed at a race course, David Warner shone in domestic cricket with three one-day centuries and another in Sheffield Shield cricket.

A new training regime had him declaring he was fitter than he has ever been and his uncompromising attitude means he will out to punish the England bowlers at any sign of weakness.

Well fancy that: Warner was born in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, some 600 metres from the Sydney Cricket Ground.


Image: David Warner
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Steve Smith

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STEVE SMITH

Right-handed batsman

Age: 24. Tests: 12. Batting average: 34.77

Steve Smith burst on to the international arena in 2010 as a promising youngster who bowled leg-spin and could make useful contributions with the bat as Australia struggled to find replacements for their retired stalwarts.

Having evolved as a more dependable batsman and put bowling on the backburner, he was added to the party for the first Ashes series as a backup batsman owing to Clarke's dodgy back and Warner's suspension.

His unbeaten 138 in the fifth Test at the Oval means his place in the side was pretty much unquestioned going into the second series.

Well fancy that: Smith could have played for the opposition, courtesy of his English mother.


Image: Steve Smith
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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George Bailey

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GEORGE BAILEY

Right-handed batsman

Age: 31. Tests: 0

Earned his call-up for the Brisbane Test on the back of 478 runs at an average of 95.6 on the recent one-day tour of India, where he captained the side in the place of the injured Clarke.

A tidal wave of opinion saw him established as the favourite to take up the vacant number six spot in the batting order, although dissenters such as Ian Chappell have questioned whether his technique is good enough for Test cricket.

George Bailey has stepped up for Australia before, though. He was uncapped in any form when he was awarded the Twenty20 captaincy in 2011 and has unexpectedly developed into a fine one-day batsman for his country after making his debut last year.

Well fancy that: His great-great-grandfather George Herbert Bailey was on Australia's first tour of England in 1878 but was not capped as the tourists did not play any Tests.


Image: George Bailey
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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James Faulkner

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JAMES FAULKNER

All rounder (left-arm pace, right-hand bat)

Age: 23. Tests: One. Batting average: 22.5. Bowling: six wickets @ 16.33

The left-arm seamer is on his way to becoming a regular in the shorter formats for Australia and he made his Test debut in the final match of the first series of the year.

James Faulkner can swing the ball both ways, has good control and is a useful lower-order batsman and will get his chance if Australia opt to play four fast bowlers or Watson is unfit to bowl.

Well fancy that: Faulkner is another of the squad with a sporting pedigree, his father Peter was an all-rounder for Tasmania in the 1980s.


Image: James Faulkner
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Nathan Lyon

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NATHAN LYON

Right-arm off-spin bowler

Age: 25. Tests: 25. Bowling: 85 wickets @ 33.23

An off-spinner in the classical mode, Nathan Lyon completed a fairytale story when he made his Test debut for Australia against Sri Lanka in 2011 after being a groundsman at Adelaide Oval a year prior.

Lyon impressed the selectors with career-best figures of seven for 94 in an innings in India at the start of the year and won back his place from Ashton Agar in England.

Seemingly destined to go into every series with a question mark over his name, Lyon perhaps owes his place to the inability of Pakistan-born former refugee Fawad Ahmed to stake a claim during the domestic season.

Well fancy that: Lyon was handed responsibility for leading Australia's victory song by Mike Hussey in January but has not yet had a chance to perform the duty.


Image: Nathan Lyon
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Peter Siddle

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PETER SIDDLE

Right-arm pace bowler

Age: 28. Tests: 46. Bowling: 167 wickets @ 29.11

The lion-hearted right-arm fast bowler is the most experienced of Australia's pace battery and is expected to lead the bowling unit in the series.

Peter Siddle took the first Ashes hat-trick of the 21st century in the opening Test of the 2010-11 series will be looking for a similarly explosive start at the Gabba this year.

Well fancy that: Siddle adopted a vegetarian diet in 2012.


Image: Peter Siddle
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Ryan Harris

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RYAN HARRIS

Right-arm pace bowler

Age: 34. Tests: 16. Bowling: 71 wickets @ 22.26

The pick of Australia's bowlers in the first Ashes series of the year with 24 wickets at 19.58 apiece, Ryan Harris confounded expectations by bowling in four of the five Tests in England.

Harris has the knack of swinging the ball both ways and is deceptively quick when in full flow but while there is no doubt about his talent, it would be remarkable if he is fit for all five tests on home soil.

Well fancy that: Harris holds a British passport through his father.


Image: Ryan Harris
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Mitchell Johnson

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MITCHELL JOHNSON

Left-arm pace bowler

Age: 32. Tests: 51 Bowling: 205 wickets @ 30.93

A cricketer for whom the word enigma might have been invented, Mitchell Johnson is almost unplayable on his day but those days have been more and more infrequent since he won the ICC Cricketer of the Year award in 2009.

Famously pilloried in song by the "Barmy Army" for his sometimes erratic bowling, Johnson has good reason to want to make the English fans eat their words.

Recalled because of injuries and some pacey bowling with the white ball in India and says he is out to "hurt" the England batsmen.

Well fancy that: Johnson drove a plumbing supplies truck while he was trying to make it as a state cricketer.


Image: Mitchell Johnson
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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