Hastings a surprise selection in Aus WC squad; Siddle dropped

Written by: Pti
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Sydney, Jan 18 (PTI) Inexperienced all-rounder JohnHastings was a surprise inclusion while paceman Peter Siddlefailed to find a place in Australia''s 15-member World Cupsquad, announced here today.

As expected, speedster Brett Lee managed to book a berthin the final squad after his brilliant comeback to one-daycricket last Sunday against England.

While captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey have alsomade the final cut for the upcoming World Cup to be held inthe sub-continent from February 19, despite suffering frominjuries.

Ponting is recovering from a finger fracture, whileHussey suffered a serious hamstring injury on Sunday.

The latter, who is almost certain to miss the seven-matchODI series against England, will have his rehabilitationprogramme determined in the next 24 hours but he will have toface a tough race against time to get fit for the mega-event.

Shaun Tait, who missed the last match because of backstiffness has also been picked.

Making it to the elite list are the left-arm pair of DougBollinger and Mitchell Johnson despite their waywardperformances.

Talking of the selection committee''s decision infinalising the 15-man squad, Chairman of selectors AndrewHilditch said the squad was selected keeping in mind thebalance between youth and experience.

"One of the major decisions to be made in this squad wasensuring the balance was right in the squad to provide thebest cover for all positions in the event of injury, illnessor form issues that may arise," Hilditch said.

"It includes the experience of Ricky Ponting, MichaelClarke and Brett Lee, and also some young talent like SteveSmith.

"Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnsonand Brad Haddin were all also part of the victorious 2007 ICCcricket World Cup squad that went unbeaten in the Caribbean,so there is plenty of character in this group of Australiancricketers," he added. .

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