Australia begins their One Day International stint of the summer missing four premier batsmen in the country.
David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey are established batsmen asked to put up their feet or get themselves fit for the daunting tours of India and England.
So are the players chosen worthy replacements? What is the thinking behind choosing a couple of these replacements aged 30 and over? Were they any notable players left out?
Here are four contentious selections:
Considering Brad Haddin is on the wrong side of 35 and with the likes of Tim Paine, Peter Nevill and Chris Hartley awaiting their turn, Haddin was a surprise selection.
There is no doubt the inclusion of Haddin suggests the selectors are looking to include him in the team to India and England. John Inverarity later confirmed this logic.
The other reason for selecting Haddin must be his ability to play spin bowling. Considering Sri Lanka’s team composition will consist plenty of wily spinners, it is a wise choice.
On top of that, Haddin’s glovework is far superior to Matthew Wade and his inclusion should keep the Victorian on his toes once he returns to the frame.
Stuart McGill stated, “Bailey is definitely not in the top six batsmen in Australia”. It was a fair comment, but with five of the top six batsmen unavailable, surely Bailey fits in the next slot of elite players.
The Tasmanian skipper averages a healthy 40 in his 13 games and has been the team’s leading scorer in four of those 13 matches, making his selection a no brainer.
Bailey’s old-fashioned style of batting is a necessity to Australia, especially with the abundance of stroke makers in the top order. And although captaincy has come premature to Bailey, with Warner out, there is really no other option.
Even at the age of 30, Bailey’s experience will add calmness to this inexperienced team.
The selection of Khawaja is puzzling. Ever since he burst on the scene he was always touted as a Test prospect, so to select him in the ODI team is mind boggling.
One of the deficiencies in Khawaja’s game is his inability to manipulate the ball into gaps. Perhaps the selectors see the ODI game as an opportunity for Usman to develop that element of his game. Also, with the India series around the corner, it gives the selectors an opportunity to observe Khawaja’s play against spin bowling.
With Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Haddin expected to bat in the top three, followed by Bailey and Dave Hussey, one doubts there is spot for Khawaja.
One day specialist Callum Ferguson should have been chosen ahead of Khawaja.
Notable absentee – fast bowling all-rounder
With Shane Watson’s bowling career in turmoil, it is essential Australia find a medium-fast bowling all-rounder.
The last couple of years Dan Christian has been an option, but for some curious reason the selectors have not named a fast bowling all-rounder – unless the selectors believe Mitchell Johnson or Ben Cutting can fill the void.
The three men who could classify as fast bowling all-rounders are Nathan Coulter-Nile, Christian and Moises Henriques and all of them have had promising seasons in the Ryobi Cup.
The exclusion of the bowling all-rounder is strange, but it is an indication the selectors’ priority in the series is to find a spin bowling all-rounder.