Ricky Ponting to lead Australia against Sri Lanka

Australia have announced a 14-man squad for the next two matches of the ODI tri-series against Sri Lanka at the SCG on Friday 17 February and against India at the Gabba on Sunday 19 February.

Former captain Ricky Ponting will lead in Friday’s match against Sri Lanka in the absence of an injured Michael Clarke.

“After careful consideration the NSP has asked Ricky Ponting if he would captain the Australian ODI team in Michael Clarke’s absence,” chief selector John Inverarity said.

“David Warner displays considerable leadership potential, but the NSP is of the view that he should not, at this moment, have the added responsibility of captaincy thrust on him,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.

“David has been gaining valuable experience under Michael Clarke’s captaincy and now he will have the opportunity to grow his leadership skills further as vice-captain to Ricky Ponting.

“In making this decision the NSP reminded itself of the fact that Ricky Ponting led the winning Australian ICC Cricket World Cup teams in 2003 and 2007.

“The NSP appreciates the fact that Ricky is prepared to accept this responsibility in the wider interests of the team.”

Pacer Brett Lee, who suffered a broken toe in a Twenty20 match against India earlier this month, and Ben Hilfenhaus are back in the squad.

As expected Michael Hussey, who was rested from the match against India, has returned to the squad.

Fast bowler Ryan Harris has been rested.

There was no place for Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who has yet to play in the ODI tri-series.

“Michael Clarke will not be considered for the ODI in Sydney this Friday due to a low-grade hamstring strain,” Inverarity said.

“The medical staff are hopeful that Michael will be fit to play in Brisbane on Sunday and that is why he has been included in the squad.”

“Some players are showing signs of fatigue after a demanding summer in which the Australian team has played with great intensity and purpose and performed with distinction.

“The National Selection Panel (NSP) has omitted Ryan Harris for this reason and for the fact that he is carrying some minor niggles.

“The NSP has refreshed the squad with the inclusion of Brett Lee and Ben Hilfenhaus.

“Brett is making a good recovery from his toe injury and will be given rigorous fitness tests before Friday’s ODI fixture.

“As expected Michael Hussey returns to the squad.”

All-rounder Shane Watson will play in the forthcoming Bupa Shield match to prove his fitness from a hamstring injury.

Commenting on Shane Watson, Australia Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: “Shane played a Grade cricket game in Sydney on Saturday.

“He batted and bowled in that game without any issue and will be available for consideration for selection for a Bupa Shield game in Perth later this week as he continues his return from injury.”

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Ricky Ponting (captain for Friday’s ODI), David Warner (vice-captain), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade.

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