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14-Mar-2012 05:12:00 GMT
Australia in West Indies, 2011-12

Clarke, Ponting in Test Team for Caribbean Tour

Melbourne: Captain Michael Clarke and former skipper Ricky Ponting were included on Wednesday in Australia's 16-man squad for the three-Test tour in the Caribbean next month despite their recent setbacks in the limited-overs format.

Clarke is expected to have recovered from a left hamstring injury that sidelined him for the deciding triseries final against Sri Lanka this month and subsequently ruled him out of the limited-overs portion of the West Indies tour.

The 37-year-old Ponting, who retired from limited-overs cricket after being dropped from the ODI squad last month, has been retained in the Test line-up after a prolific recent series against India.

Shane Watson, also returning to the Test team from calf and hamstring injuries over the past three months, was among the squad for the series starting April 7 at Bridgetown, Barbados.

James Pattinson returns after foot and leg injuries but Patrick Cummins, another of the injured Australia bowling corps, has not recovered enough to be considered, national selectors chairman John Inverarity said.

"The national selection panel believes the inclusion of five fast bowlers, two spinners and two wicketkeepers will provide important flexibility and cover for any injuries that may occur in a country that is not easily accessible by replacement or standby players," Inverarity said.

"Shane Watson will come back into the Test XI and he could replace Shaun Marsh in the vitally important No. 3 position."

The 16-man contingent is the biggest Australian squad to go on a Test tour since the 2009 Ashes series.

Spinner Michael Beer also was recalled to the squad and could add to his one Test appearance against England in January 2011. Batsman Peter Forrest and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade could make Test debuts if they play in the Caribbean.

Watson will be in charge when Australia plays the first of five ODIs against the West Indies on Saturday. That series will be followed by two Twenty20 matches ahead of the Test series.

Australia's Test squad:

  • Michael Clarke (captain)
  • Shane Watson
  • Ed Cowan
  • David Warner
  • Peter Forrest
  • Ricky Ponting
  • Michael Hussey
  • Michael Beer
  • Brad Haddin (wk)
  • Ryan Harris
  • Ben Hilfenhaus
  • Nathan Lyon
  • James Pattinson
  • Peter Siddle
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Matthew Wade (wk)

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