Doherty back for Aussies
Spinner given final chance to earn World Cup spot by playing against England
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 15/01/11 12:48pm
Doherty: World Cup chance
Xavier Doherty has been handed the chance to press his World Cup claims after being named in the Australian team to face England in the first match of the ODI series in Melbourne.
Doherty was named in the team as Australia played their hand early by releasing the starting line-up for the side, which will be led by Michael Clarke.
With the deadline for naming the 15-man World Cup squad on Wednesday, the game could be a final chance for players to get their names in the frame.
Returning quicks Shaun Tait and Brett Lee have also been included, with Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson rested, while David Hussey will make his first 50-over appearance since August 2009.
Doherty's inclusion comes at the expense of Nathan Hauritz, who was also overlooked for the Ashes behind his Tasmanian counterpart.
It would seem on this occasion, however, that Hauritz has already done enough to earn his place for the World Cup, after selector Greg Chappell admitted they had planned for the right-arm off-spinner to sit out Sunday's game.
Doherty has therefore seemingly been picked to try and push his claims to partner Hauritz on the sub-continent.
"The NSP continues to look closely at certain players as the deadline for ICC Cricket World Cup selection approaches," Chappell said.
"Our plan had always been to play Xavier Doherty in this game.
"We spoke to Nathan Hauritz in the week and advised him that if selected, the first game he plays in this series would be in the group of Commonwealth Bank Series matches which start with the second ODI on 21 January at the Bellerive Oval, Hobart."
Quicks Tait and Lee could be involved in a straight shoot-out as they aim to complete their last bids for the World Cup, which starts on February 19.
Both have been beset by injury in recent times, with Tait recently returning from an elbow complaint while Lee retired from the longer formats last year to rest his ailing body.
The 34-year-old's decision has been rewarded as he has taken 15 wickets in the domestic 45-over competition this season, the second most of any bowler.
Hussey's form has not been as impressive in the Ryobi Cup where he has managed 143 runs at an average of 23.83.
Skipper Michael Clarke, who will lead the team in the absence of the injured Ricky Ponting, hinted however that the Victorian's ability to bowl part-time spin made him an attractive option looking ahead to the sub-continent.
"I definitly think you could get your extra overs out of your spinners," he said. "David Hussey's part-time off-spin adds to our bowling."
Australia team: M Clarke (captain), C White (vice captain), D Bollinger, X Doherty, D Hussey, M Hussey, B Haddin, S Smith, B Lee, S Tait, S Watson.