Oz name Ahmed, Smith in limited-over squad

Australia

Australia have named their squad for the limited-overs fixtures against England and Scotland over the next two months, with Pakistan-born spinner Fawad Ahmed and Steve Smith the most prominent inclusions.

Australia have named their squad for the limited-overs fixtures against England and Scotland over the next two months, with Pakistan-born spinner Fawad Ahmed and Steve Smith the most prominent inclusions.

Ahmed only got his citizenship finalised just before the Ashes, and was thought to be included in the squad for the Tests. But he was instead asked to play for Australia A, where he did very well in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Smith, who was not part of the Champions Trophy side, was pulled in after putting on some solid performances in the Ashes with the bat, and replaced youngster Mitch Marsh in the squad.

The two T20s will be played on 29 and 31 August, after which the 18-man side will be cut by three for the five ODIs against England and one against Scotland. The fifth and final ODI will be played on 16 September.

National Selector John Inverarity said: "Fawad Ahmed gets his opportunity as the squad's lead spinner. He replaces Xavier Doherty who had that role in the ICC Champions Trophy played in June. While Xavier will be disappointed, he remains in strong contention for selection for the Tour of India in October.

"Fawad has been a consistent wicket-taker on the Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa. He is a mature and very good leg-spin bowler and the NSP is keen to see how he fares in international competition.

"Steve Smith has replaced Mitchell Marsh from the squad that represented Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy. Steve is a talented young stroke-maker who is steadily gaining confidence and has been impressive at times during the Ashes Series and Australia A tour that preceded it. Mitchell is still only 21 years of age and is a player who remains of high interest.

"Aaron Finch played five consecutive ODIs last summer against the West Indies. Since then he has captained Australia A against the England Lions in February and more recently against South Africa A, Zimbabwe and India A in Africa. He has played and captained with considerable success and the NSP looks forward to him continuing his form in England.

"Shaun Marsh's limited overs form has been very good for some time. He sealed his selection in this squad when he batted through the innings scoring a masterful 136 not out to guide Australia A to victory against South Africa A recently.

"Josh Hazlewood has been performing impressively with Australia A recently and thoroughly deserves the opportunity. Josh made his ODI debut for Australia against England in 2010 as a 19-year-old and now, three years on, he is a stronger and better bowler.

"We believe the squad is also a very good fielding unit with David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Steve Smith being a brilliant and eye-catching quartet within the wider squad.

"While he hasn't been selected in this squad, the NSP also notes the strong performances of Nic Maddinson in recent months for Australia A. We look forward to him continuing to build on that good form and pressing his claims for higher honours in the future.

"The 2014 ICC World Twenty20 is less than 12 months away and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup around 18 months away so every limited overs game between now and then will be an important opportunity for those players selected to press their claims.

"While those two tournaments may seem distant to cricket fans, the NSP has been planning for these tournaments for some time."

The 18-player squad: Michael Clarke (ODI Captain), George Bailey (ODI Vice-Captain/T20 captain), Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson

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