Lee to lock horns with England again
England are set to face old adversary Brett Lee when they play a Prime Minister's XI at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 10.
Paceman Lee, who has retired from Tests, has been given the opportunity to step up his bid to play in the World Cup, as part of a side led by Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine.
The game, which traditionally marked the start of an Ashes tour, is England’s only one-day warm-up before their limited-overs series against Australia.
The tourists will play two Twenty20 internationals - the first two days later in Adelaide - and seven one-day internationals ahead of the World Cup, which starts on February 19.
The PM’s XI comprises several players in the running for a berth in Australia's World Cup squad, along with emerging talents such as all-rounder Alex Keath and Nic Maddinson.
Callum Ferguson, Dan Christian, Usman Khawaja and Xavier Doherty will be hoping to impress ahead of the Commonwealth Bank Series.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch revealed the match was an important part of the planning for the World Cup starting in late February.
"The national selection panel has looked at this team obviously with an eye on the World Cup, knowing there are a number of players who are in line to make the final squad of 15," he said.
"It is an exciting side that could well be a snapshot of an Australian outfit in years to come with the experience of Brett Lee playing the role of mentor for our young bowlers.
"Tim Paine has shown he is capable of playing at the highest level but we want to test his fitness after surgery on his broken finger and we are keen to see how he leads a team from behind the stumps."
Paine said he was looking forward to the challenge and giving Prime Minister Julia Gillard a win in her first match as the 'national selector'.
"It's an honour to be asked to captain the Prime Minister's XI and I thank the Prime Minister for giving me the opportunity to lead this exciting group," Paine added.
"We have a pretty talented team together with a lot of players who have played international cricket or who have been around the Australian team set-up so that experience should definitely hold us in good stead."
Prime Minister's XI: Tim Paine (captain), Callum Ferguson, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Josh Hazlewood, Alex Keath, Usman Khawaja, Brett Lee, Tom Thornton, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Starc. Twelfth man: Josh Anderson.