Australia pick four spinners

Calcutta: Australia named four spinners ' Xavier Doherty, Steven Smith, Nathan Lyon and Glenn Maxwell ' in their 17-member squad for the four-Test series against India, which starts in Chennai on February 22.

The selectors decided to go for four spinners so that the side can exploit the spin-friendly conditions in the subcontinent.

For the record, Glenn Maxwell along with Moises Henriques are the two uncapped members in the squad.

James Pattinson, who was out of cricket due to a rib injury and side strain, also made a comeback to the Test team, while Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson are the other pacers who were included in Australia's five-strong pace attack.

The veteran Ben Hilfenhaus, who has not played since breaking down during the Hobart Test in December, was not selected, and nor was Steve 'Keefe, the leading spinner in the Sheffield Shield this summer.

The large squad is an attempt to cover all bases as the Australians acclimatise to life without both Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Vice-captain Shane Watson, who had sustained a left calf injury while bowling on Day I of the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in December, was included as a specialist batsman.

Explosive opener David Warner, who has been ruled out of the first two ODIs against the West Indies on Friday and Saturday due to an injured thumb, was also picked in the squad and also back in the mix was batsman Usman Khawaja.

"This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India, and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players," selection committee chairman John Inverarity said.

"In aiming for more depth in a bowling attack, the squad would allow for three pace bowlers, a leading spinner and Maxwell, or two pace bowlers, the two spinners and Henriques. These are two of the options," he added.

Australia will play two warm-up games in Chennai on February 12-13 and February 16-18 ahead of the first Test starting at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on February 22.

Some members of the Test squad will fly to India while the West Indies limited overs series is still on, in order to better prepare them for the conditions.

"We have a good opportunity for members of the squad to get well acclimatised to the conditions," Inverarity said.

Doherty hasn't played Test cricket since his two Tests in the Ashes defeat at home in 2010-11 but his recent form in limited over cricket saw him selected.

"We certainly feel he is much improved in the longer format of the game since he made his Test debut in 2010-11 against England," said Inverarity.

Inverarity was also confident that David Warner will be part of the team in Chennai, despite suffering a fractured thumb. It appears unlikely that Warner will take any part in the one-day series, although Inverarity said he was expected to be fit for the Tests in India.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia has roped in Dennis Lillee to provide guidance and coaching advice to the national side ahead of the Test series.

The 63-year-old will also act as a mentor to the budding pacers of Australia. "He will work closely with full-time bowling coach Ali de Winter as Australia prepare to tackle India in a Test series next month and then the highly-anticipated Ashes series starting in July," Cricket Australia said.

The Squad

Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »