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Aussies begin ’15 Cup preparations

Calcutta: With the 2015 World Cup approaching, Australia, who will be co-hosting the meet with New Zealand, began their preparations by experimenting with the ODI squad for the tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa, which begins later this month.

Spinner Nathan Lyon has been called up to the one-day squad, with Ben Cutting, Kane Richardson and Mitchell Marsh also getting the nod.

Lyon has not played a limited overs International since March 2012, but has been working with Sri Lankan spin great Muttiah Muralidharan and was preferred to Xavier Doherty. “Nathan Lyon has done very well in Test match cricket, but first came under notice through his performances in short form cricket,” said national selector Rod Marsh.

“He bowled well in last year’s (one-day) Cup competition and having not played an ODI since early 2012, the National Selection Panel is keen to see him in action again.”

The one-day series, which gets under way in Harare on August 25, will Australia’s first tour of Zimbabwe since 2004.

It also signals the start of a busy summer for the national team led by Michael Clarke, which includes a possible 18 ODIs between now and the start of the Cricket World Cup in February 2015. “This tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa is another important step in our preparation for the ICC World Cup early next year,” said Marsh.

The squad

Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson