| Ricky Ponting poses with a 50 days to go cake in Sydney on Wednesday. |
Calcutta: Cricket Australia (CA) on Wednesday named all-rounder Shane Watson over controversial Andrew Symonds in the 16-man squad for the ensuing Ashes series.
CAs National Selection Panel (NSP), headed by Andrew Hilditch also recalled experienced fast bowlers Brett Lee and Stuart Clark besides a host of younger players who were impressive in Australias recent South Africa tour, a release said.
Shane Watson has been named in the squad subject to fitness, but that is not expected to be a serious issue, Hilditch said.
He is recovering from a very mild groin strain at present and is expected to be fully fit for the ICC World Twenty20 in the UK and the commencement of the Ashes.
Shane in our view has the ability to bat anywhere in the order and enables us to have a batsman in the top six who can provide quality pace support for the fast bowling group. The squad contains an exciting blend of experience and youth, Hilditch said.
The squad included just one specialist spinner Nathan Hauritz and two wicketkeepers Brad Haddin and Graham Manou.
Australias Twenty20 squad will depart for England next week while the five-Test Ashes series begins in Cardiff on July 8.
Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Andrew McDonald, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson (subject to fitness).