Spinner Nathan Lyon has been recalled to Australia’s squad for the trip to Zimbabwe after two years out of one-day international cricket, but there was no place for in-form top order batsman Phil Hughes.
Hughes had pressed his case for a recall last week by setting an Australian record score for a “List A” match with an unbeaten 202 against South Africa in a quadrangular one-day A-team series in Darwin.
With opener David Warner having decided to skip the tour to remain in Australia for the birth of his first child, Hughes had hoped his hot form might have earned him a call-up.
“We would have loved to pick Phillip but it’s quite difficult to find the spot for him with a strong batting line-up,” chief selector Rod Marsh said.
“He was in superb form during the recent Australia A one-day matches, including a standout double-century, and we will certainly be continuing to watch him closely.”
Lyon was preferred to Xavier Doherty as the specialist spinner in the 14-man party and looks set to represent his country in a limited overs match for the first time since March 2012, when he played both of his ODIs.
“Nathan Lyon has done very well in Test match cricket, but first came under notice through his performances in short form cricket,” Marsh said.
“He bowled well in last year’s (interstate) competition and having not played an ODI since early 2012, the [selectors] are keen to see him in action again.”
All-rounders Ben Cutting and Mitchell Marsh, as well as seamer Kane Richardson, were included in the squad as Australia looks to broaden its playing stocks ahead of next year’s World Cup, which it is hosting with New Zealand.
Richardson and Cutting made their international debuts in a defeat to Sri Lanka in Adelaide in January last year, a match that remains the former’s only experience of international cricket. Cutting has played another two matches since, while Marsh has played four ODIs in the three years since his debut.
“Ben Cutting has been in terrific form for Australia A and bowled his heart out,” Rod Marsh said. “Kane Richardson has been bowling beautifully up in Darwin and his figures have been terrific.
“The thing we like most about Mitch Marsh at the moment is his bowling. He’s capable of opening the bowling or coming on through the middle overs and can do so with good pace, which is pleasing.”
Australia will face Zimbabwe and South Africa in a triangular series from August 25 on their first trip to the southern African country in a decade.
They will travel to the UAE in October for a series against Pakistan, which consists of two Tests, three ODIs and one Twenty20 game.