Australia: Callum Ferguson has been recalled to the Australian ODI squad for the India tour after the captain Michael Clarke formally withdrew due to his chronic back condition. Nic Maddinson has also been added to the squad for the Twenty20 match that precedes the seven 50-over matches.
ESPNcricinfo reported last month that Clarke was set to be taken out of the squad in order to ensure his back recovers fully from its most recent flare up in time for the start of the home Ashes series against England. His absence means that George Bailey will again lead the ODI team, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin as his deputy.
Alex Kountouris, the Australia team physio, said Clarke’s back had been slow in responding to daily treatment since his return home from England. “Michael Clarke has a longstanding low back injury that requires ongoing management,” he said. “During the recent England ODI series his injury flared up again and has been slow to improve with his regular treatment regime.
“Michael will therefore not be available to play the upcoming India ODI series and will require a more extensive rehabilitation period before returning to competitive cricket.”
Ferguson possesses a handsome limited-overs record for Australia but has been used only sparingly since a serious knee injury curtailed a successful run in the team in 2009. The national selector John Inverarity said Ferguson had backed up those performances with a strong domestic limited-overs season in 2012-13.
“Michael was very keen to captain the ODI team to India but unfortunately he hasn’t progressed enough to be available for selection,” Inverarity said. “His replacement is Callum Ferguson, whose form in 50-over cricket during the last Australian summer was impressive, scoring 271 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 70 in the Ryobi Cup, along with an additional three matches for Australia A against the England Lions in February, scoring 149 runs in three innings at 49.66 with a strike rate of 91.”
Maddinson’s selection for the T20 fixture follows strong showings for Australia A on tours of the British Isles and southern Africa earlier this year. His powerful, free-swinging approach impressed national team coach Darren Lehmann in particular. “Nic showed some sparkling form on Australia A tours during the winter,” Inverarity said. “He will be in strong contention to open the batting with Aaron Finch in the T20.”