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Australia announce Test squad for India

SYDNEY: Selectors included injured skipper Michael Clarke and uncapped paceman Josh Hazlewood in a 12-man Australia squad on Monday for next month’s opening Test against India in Brisbane.

Clarke was named subject to a fitness test on the left hamstring he injured in the recent one-day series against South Africa in Perth. He also continues to undergo daily treatment for an ongoing back condition.

“Michael Clarke has been included subject to fitness,” chief selector Rod Marsh said.

“We would have preferred him to play in the round of Sheffield Shield starting on Tuesday, but unfortunately his condition did not allow him enough time to be ready for that match.

“The aim is for him to play in the two-day Cricket Australia XI match against India at the Adelaide Oval starting on Friday and his selection for the first Test is very much dependent on him pulling up well from that match.”

Marsh said selectors would consider calling in a replacement batsman to the squad for the opening Test starting on December 4 if Clarke does not recover sufficiently.

“We still have some time before having to make a final decision on Michael’s fitness,” team doctor Peter Brukner said. “As you would expect, he’s desperate to play and we are doing all that we can to ensure he can do just that.

“Over the coming days the plan is to build him up so that he can resume running with the ultimate aim of getting him some high-intensity match practice ahead of the first Test.”

Veteran paceman Ryan Harris returns following knee surgery and will play in this week’s round of Sheffield Shield matches as part of his build up to the opening Test.

Uncapped New South Wales paceman Hazlewood was rewarded for his strong recent performances against South Africa in the one-day series with inclusion in the Test squad for the first time since 2012-13.

Hazlewood captured nine wickets in the series against South Africa, which Australia won 4-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the International Cricket Council one-day rankings.

Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell missed out, omitted from Australia’s last Test side that lost to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

“Josh is a young player of great talent and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity,” Marsh said.

“He has impressed in the recent one-day series and we are excited to see what he can produce if given the opportunity in Brisbane.

“Ryan has worked extremely hard to return to elite cricket following his knee surgery,” he added.

“We know what a quality player he is. He will play in this week’s Sheffield Shield to get more bowling under his belt but we are all hopeful he will be ready for a big summer of cricket.”

Australia – Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.

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