ICC Champions Trophy Preliminary squad:
Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, Moises Henriques, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jon Holland, James Hopes, Phillip Hughes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Tim Paine, Peter Siddle, Shaun Tait, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
An interesting squad. I like it that the NSP took into consideration some of the performances from the Australia A series.
Tim Paine is a bloke I am pleased to see in the squad. He is a young Tassie cricketer, who blasted a thrilling century in the final ODI to steer us to victory, and even better is that he is a wicket-keeper, so continuing our stocks of specialist keepers, who can bat aggressively when needed, is promising for our future cricket. He is developing a better first-class game too, so I am hoping he makes the squad for some experience. Luke Ronchi fell out of the mix sadly after a very poor time with WA.
Cameron White has recently played some solid ODI and T20 cricket for Aus A, so hopefully we will see him get some more games in, should he make the team.
Jason Kreja and Jon Holland are pitching it up against Nathan Hauritz for the spinner's role. On this one we'll have to hold our breath for the NSP's decision.
Another important factor here is that quite a few of these guys could find themselves heading over to England for the two T20's and seven ODI's following the Ashes.
Stuart Clark and Brad Hodge didnot make the 30 members, which is surprising, but reasonably expected. It is a short tournament though, so they maybe in the pipelines for the upcoming summer games against West-Indies and Pakistan!
If I were to cut 15 men from those 30? I would go with the following:
Ponting, Clarke, Haddin, M.Hussey, D.Hussey, Ferguson, Hopes, Marsh, Lee, Hilfenhaus, Johnson, Watson, White, Bollinger, Bracken.
Brett Geeves, Tim Paine, Phillip Hughes, David Warner and Adam Voges will get serious consideration too, with possibly James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, and Ben Hilfenhaus competing for their spots, notably because it is a shorter series in ODI cricket, and the NSP may be looking strongly towards the youth factor. This is evident with Hodge and Clark not in the prelim.
Anyway, we will know come August 23rd.
Back the Ashes now.