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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hughes back in Australia squad for India Tests

Hughes back in Australia squad for India Tests

September 02, 2010 11:36 IST

Phillip HughesUncapped young pacers Josh Hazlewood and Peter George were the surprise inclusions while opener Phillip Hughes made a comeback from injury in Australia's squad for the upcoming Test series against India.

The 15-man squad led by Ricky Ponting will play two Test matches in India -- in Mohali (October 1-5) and Bangalore (October 9-13).

Hughes, 21, made his comeback after recovering from his shoulder injury and replaced Usman Khwaja, who toured England for the two-match series against Pakistan but didn't get a chance to play.

Australia are scheduled to play the all-important Ashes series against arch-rivals England later this year, but their focus for now is the Test series against England, revealed National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch.

"While the excitement builds for the forthcoming Ashes, the immediate focus for this squad is the Test series against India. India is ranked number one in Test cricket and there is no harder assignment in Test cricket at the moment than playing India on their home soil. The Australian squad is really looking forward to the challenge," said NSP chairman Andrew Hilditch.

23-year-old right-arm pacer George, whose action is similar to Glenn McGrath, has been fast-tracked into the Test squad after just two seasons of first class cricket for South Australia, during which he has played just 18 games.

Hazlewood, 19, has already made his One-Day International debut and was the third highest wicket-taker in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year. He also has been picked up on basis of his ability, having played just six first class games for New South Wales.

Young leg-spinner Steven Smith will partner Nathan Hauritz in the spin department, while Mitchell Johnson will lead the pace attack along with the experienced Ben Hilfenhaus, Shane Watson and Doug Bollinger.

Captain Ponting would be hoping to regain his batting form as suffering from a slump in recent months that saw him score just one century in his last 18 innings.

Australia, who have slipped to number four in the ICC Test rankings, will be hoping to extract revenge for their failure in the previous tour of India during which they were beaten 2-0 in the four-Test series. 

Tim Paine will keep wickets after regular wicketkeeper Brad Haddin failed to recover from his injury and was ruled out of the two-Test series.

"Brad Haddin is making good progress with rehabilitation of his elbow tendon injury. He is due to commence restricted batting in the next few weeks but will not be available to play in the Test component of Australia's Tour of India," Australian physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Marcus North, Tim Paine, Peter George, Nathan Hauritz, Josh Hazlewood, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger, Mitchell Johnson, Steven Smith.