Watson, Harris back for Australia


Shane Watson was named in the Australia squad for the first time this season as selectors Monday made a big call and dropped former skipper Ricky Ponting for the tri-series with India and Sri Lanka.
Watson replaced Ponting in a 13-man squad after the ex-captain’s lean run of form with just 18 runs in five knocks in the ODI series.
Selectors also recalled paceman Ryan Harris for Mitchell Starc and confirmed that Matthew Wade was their preferred wicketkeeper in the one-day form of the game to Test custodian Brad Haddin.
All-rounder Watson has not played for Australia this season since injuring a hamstring on the tour to South Africa late last year.
“Shane Watson is an all-rounder of proven class and the selection panel is keen to have him re-join the squad,” chief selector John Inverarity said on Monday.
Inverarity said that Ponting had been axed due to his lack of form in the tri-series.
“The team will not seem the same without him, but moving on from the omission of players who have been outstanding over a long period of time is the nature of elite sport,” he said.
Selectors also decided to stand down young left-arm paceman Starc to make way for the return of senior paceman Harris, who was rested from the team’s last two ODIs.
“Mitchell will benefit greatly from the Tests and the ODIs he has played,” Inverarity said. “His development as a player of the future is most encouraging.”
Amid criticism over selectors’ handling of Haddin, who has not played in the tri-series, Inverarity made clear that Wade was now the preferred wicketkeeper for the Australian ODI team.
“The intention at this stage is to have both Matthew and Brad Haddin in the West Indies together for the duration of the (March-April) tour,” he said.
The 13-man squad was named for Australia’s next two tri ODIs against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Friday and India in Sydney on Sunday.
Australia lead the triangular series after their crushing 110-run win over India in Brisbane on Sunday.

Australia – Michael Clarke (Capt), Shane Watson (vice-capt), Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade, David Warner.