Australia squad - NatWest Series v England, 2010
Ricky Ponting (captain)
Ponting has plenty of motivation heading into a series that is likely to represent the last time he leads his country on English soil. After surrendering the Ashes on his previous two visits to these shores and with the next series looming, Ponting will be keen to take a psychological edge back to Australia. Only Sachin Tendulkar has scored more ODI centuries.
After finally putting his injury woes behind him, Watson has begun to fulfil his potential as one of the finest all-rounders in the world. The past 12 months have been the best of his career as he has become a reliable force at the top of the order in all formats, while his bowling remains a handy alternative. In February he won the much prized Allan Border Medal, awarded to Australia’s player of the year.
Persistent injuries have slowed the powerful left-handed opener’s progress on the international stage. A century against India in Hyderabad last November underlined his ability, but a back injury restricted him to just seven matches during the Australian summer. His father Geoff Marsh was a former Australia opener and also coached the team that won the 1999 World Cup in England.
Michael Clarke (vice-captain)
Clarke overcame calls for him to be replaced as Twenty20 captain following Australia’s defeat to England in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, but will be looking to placate those who continue to doubt his worth in the one-day arena. Although the New South Welshman has just four ODI centuries in 173 matches heading into the NatWest Series, he was arguably Australia’s best batsman in last year’s Ashes summer. A joy to watch in full flow.
With an ODI average of more than 50, there are few better middle-order batsmen in the world. Dubbed ‘Mr Cricket’ for his love of the game, he is capable of rebuilding an innings as well as providing lusty late hitting. His match-winning unbeaten 60 off just 24 balls in the World Twenty20 semi-final against Pakistan will live long in the memory and proved he remains at the peak of his powers even in his mid-30s.
White was player of the series in Australia’s 6-1 NatWest Series triumph last summer, when he averaged 52, including a fine 106 at the Rose Bowl. He has since enhanced his reputation to such an extent that some believe he should lead the Twenty20 side. White is a mighty striker of the ball, but his leg-spin is rarely seen these days.
Tim Paine (wicketkeeper)
The next in a line of emerging Australian wicketkeeper-batsmen, Paine was a late call-up to the squad in place of the injured Brad Haddin. He made his ODI debut on the Ashes tour last summer - after Haddin was injured during the Test series - and impressed by hitting 111 against England at Trent Bridge. A stylish batsmen who offers Australia alternatives at the top of the order.
The young blonde-haired leg-spinner has so far avoided the obvious comparisons to Shane Warne, with skipper Ricky Ponting admitting that his bowling is still “a work in progress”. However, Smith’s development over the past year has been significant and there has been talk of him making his Test debut before the Ashes. He is also a more than handy batsman - he averaged 77.20 in the Sheffield Shield last season - and a superb fielder, especially in the deep.
Hopes has secured his place in the Australia one-day team as a utility player since his debut in 2005. Sometimes used as a shot-making opener, he otherwise drops down the order to provide meaty late hitting. His medium pace is relied upon for its variation and restricting the scoring rate rather than wicket-taking potential.
It has been a battle for Hauritz to emerge as Australia’s first-choice slow bowler, but he has gradually won over his critics with his dependable off-spin. He had not played an ODI in six years before his recall on the tour of South Africa in February 2009 and, while he has been a regular since then, his place appears increasingly under threat from young leg-spinner Steven Smith.
Harris was the revelation of the Australian summer when, after replacing Peter Siddle during the ODI series with Pakistan, he made it impossible for the selectors to drop him with successive five-wicket hauls. His dream summer concluded with a Test debut in New Zealand. Capable of hurrying the batsmen with his skiddy seamers, Harris is also far from a genuine tailender.
Injuries granted seamer McKay his chance in Australia colours during the winter and he has since responded with 10 wickets in as many games at an average of 18.31. He was the second most prolific bowler for Victoria in the inaugural Champions League last season and signed for Yorkshire for the early stages of the Friends Provident t20.
The left-armer hardly set the world on fire during his time at Worcestershire, but his fiery style of swing bowling has proved a perfect fit for Australia. Bollinger made his one-day debut last year against Pakistan and, after taking 5-35 in his second game, has shown he is comfortable on the international stage with 33 wickets at 21.83 apiece. He was a key member of the triumphant Chennai Super Kings side in this year’s Indian Premier League.
The teenage right-armer earned his first Australia call-up after Mitchell Johnson was ruled out of the NatWest Series with an elbow infection. Hazlewood became the youngest pacemen to play for New South Wales when he was selected as a 17-year-old, although he has yet to play a 50-over game for the Blues. He was the joint second-highest wicket-taker at the Under-19 World Cup in January, which Australia won.
A skiddy right-armer seamer capable of bowling at 95mph and beyond, Tait should offer potency to an Australia attack which came up short in the opening two games of the NatWest Series. He has not played an ODI since February 2009, but starred during the ICC World Twenty20 with his ability to bowl toe-crunching yorkers.
Australia have made three changes to the squad due to injury: Tim Paine replaced Brad Haddin on June 5, Josh Hazlewood replaced Mitchell Johnson on June 10 and Shaun Tait replaced Nathan Hauritz on June 25.