Sydney: Steve and Mark Waugh's chances of playing in next year's cricket World Cup further receded on Friday when they were left out of the Australia 'A' One-day side to tour South Africa in September.
The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced a 14-man squad to play seven One-dayers in South Africa with the purpose of broadening Australia's depth at One-day level ahead of the World Cup, which will be played in South Africa in February-March next year. Less than six months ago Steve Waugh was the captain of the One-day side and now he is not counted among the top 28 players in the country. Test opener Justin Langer, 31, will captain the side and is the oldest player in the team. The Waugh twins are 37. The 14-man national side is the same as that which took on Pakistan in three One- dayers last month with the addition of Queensland spinner Nathan Hauritz. The 14-man 'A' team has its share of experienced players, including Justin Langer, Greg Blewett, Ian Harvey, Andrew Symonds and Simon Katich. The fact the Waughs weren't included is a clear pointer to their future in Limited Overs cricket. Adam Gilchrist, vice-captain to Waugh in the Test side and deputy to Ricky Ponting in the One-day side, was surprised the twins weren't in one of the teams. "It is a bit odd," Gilchrist said on Friday. "Obviously ... the Waughs could easily slot into any team and still do well." Langer refused to discount Steve Waugh's chances of a recall to the national side but figured it unlikely. "There is no doubt he has got the ability to, (it is) whether the opportunity comes up for him to," Langer said. "Having spoken to him recently, he still has the desire to do it and, if any person could do it against all the odds that are probably stacked against him to do it and make a return, he could." National selection chairman Trevor Hohns said he was "very, very comfortable" with the two sides, including an 'A' side, which included newcomers in 21-year-old NSW all-rounder Michael Clarke and Tasmanian pace bowler Damien Wright. "There's a couple of guys there I suppose who are a bit of a look and see proposition - we are experimenting a little bit," Hohns said in a statement. "These matches against South Africa A provide players with valuable experience at the international level and importantly, for those players who may eventually be selected for the World Cup, the familiarity of playing in South Africa." Steve Waugh, through his management, said he had wanted to go on the tour. "I was more than willing to go on the tour if selected but that is not the case," said Waugh, who will travel to India next week as part of a sponsor's deal. Mark Waugh's manager, Leo Karis, said he was "not overly surprised" the long-serving batsman had been left out of the 'A' team. The national side will play Pakistan and possibly Kenya in a One-day series in Nairobi - pending a security report - from August 27 to September 7. Australia will then travel to Sri Lanka for the ICC Champions Trophy from September 12-29, where it's drawn in the same group as New Zealand and Bangladesh. ACB chief executive James Sutherland said Australia's participation in the Kenyan tournament would be confirmed once the regular security and operational checks had been done. Kenya was likely to take New Zealand's place in the triangular tournament. Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Andrew Bichel, Jason Gillespie, Nathan Hauritz, Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee Darren Lehmann, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Shane Watson. Australia 'A': Justin Langer (captain), Simon Katich, Greg Blewett, Nathan Bracken, Ryan Campbell, Michael Clarke, Stuart Clark, Ian Harvey, Mark Higgs, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Brad Williams and Damien Wright.
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