| Jason Gillespie’s injury will be monitored closely
Sydney: Injury-struck Australia made three changes to their squad, from the one which won in Perth, for the second Test against Zimbabwe at the SCG from Friday.
Speedster Nathan Bracken, spinners Simon Katich and Brad Hogg were inducted into the 14-member squad which has been hampered by injuries to paceman Jason Gillespie, leg-spinner Stuart MacGill and allrounder Darren Lehmann.
Gillespie has been ruled out of the match, and his availability for the tri-series in India is also in doubt. “We will monitor Gillespie’s progress over the next few days before making a decision about his place in the one-day touring party for India,” national selection panel chairman Trevor Hohns said.
MacGill and Lehmann — who were named in the squad for the Sydney squad — have to pass the fitness test. If the duo fail the test, the Australia squad will be reduced to 12 players.
“Injuries have forced us to make several changes and we will have a better idea as to how we are placed once MacGill and Lehmann have undergone fitness tests in Sydney,” Hohns said.
On the new additions to the squad, Hohns said: “The inclusion of Williams and Bracken gives us the flexibility of playing four fast bowlers if required. Nathan has performed well at one-day International level and being a left-arm bowler means he offers us a bit of variety in the pace bowling department”.
Hohns added: “Hogg is a ready-made spinner who can come in for MacGill if he isn’t fit, or we take up the option of playing two spinners. With Lehmann’s fitness under a cloud, we felt Katich, who like Lehmann can slot into the middle-order as well as bowl some handy left-arm wrist spin, was a suitable replacement.”
Pointing out that Martin Love was also considered as a possible replacement for Lehmann, Hohns said Katich was given preference for his bowling skills.
“We weren’t on the lookout simply for a batsman as a potential replacement for Lehmann, rather a batting allrounder. Katich’s bowling was a major influence in our decision making,” said Hohns.
Left-arm quick Bracken and Williams, who was 12th man in the first Test, are yet to play a Test. Bracken was part of the squad that toured England in 2001 but was forced to return home prematurely due to a shoulder injury.
For Katich, it would be his first opportunity to represent Australia since his one and only Test appearance against England at Headingley in 2001 while Hogg has so far played three Tests. (PTI)