Selection gambles for Aussies
Watson and Lee selected for T20 showpiece despite fitness fears
Last Updated: 05/05/09 8:00am
Lee: Still finding fitness
Brett Lee and Shane Watson have been named in Australia's 15-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England this summer.
"Brett Lee is progressing well. We expect it will take him a few games to regain his rhythm after the extended break but the medical and coaching staff are very confident Brett will be back to his best for this tournament."
Andrew Hilditch Quotes of the week
Lee and Watson are due to play for Australia against Pakistan in a Twenty20 match in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, the first time in months either will attempt to bowl in an international game.
Paceman Lee has not bowled since he suffered a foot and ankle injury during last year's Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Melbourne.
All-rounder Watson has also struggled with injury and, despite starring with the bat during Australia's one-day international series success against Pakistan, has not bowled since last November because of stress fractures in his back.
The Australia squad named on Tuesday also includes rested captain Ricky Ponting, the Hussey brothers, all-rounder Andrew Symonds and explosive opener David Warner.
Symonds' inclusion is seen as a sign of his full acceptance back into the Australian team after disciplinary incidents led to his suspension last summer.
The squad has considerable bowling depth with the inclusion of Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, who were rested from the recent series against Pakistan, Nathan Bracken, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes and spinner Nathan Hauritz.
National selection panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said: "At his best Andrew Symonds is one of the best Twenty20 players in the world. He also adds versatility to our squad.
"Brett Lee is progressing well. We expect it will take him a few games to regain his rhythm after the extended break but the medical and coaching staff are very confident Brett will be back to his best for this tournament.
"Shane Watson has returned to the one-day side and performed extra well with the bat in the series in the UAE and adds strength and versatility to the side.
"Nathan Hauritz has made great progress in limited overs cricket. Spin is having a significant impact on T20 cricket worldwide and Nathan is well placed to play a significant role in this tournament.
"We've also picked a strong batting group with a mix of stroke players and players capable of being very destructive."
Ponting's men still face a tough task qualifying from their group in the June 5 to 21 competition, though, with Sri Lanka and West Indies providing stiff competition.
Australia squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, David Warner, Shane Watson.