Rookie pacers Peter George and Josh Hazlewood were the surprise picks, while fit-again opener Philip Hughes made a return to the 15-member Australian cricket squad announced today for the two-match Test series against India next month.
The squad, to be led by Ricky Ponting, will miss regular wicketkeeper Brad Haddin due to an elbow injury and Tim Paine will be doing the duty behind stumps in his absence.
"While the excitement builds for the forthcoming Vodafone Ashes, the immediate focus for this squad is the Test series
against India," Australia's National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch said in a statement.
"India is ranked number one in Test cricket and there is no harder assignment in Test cricket at the moment than
playing India on their home soil. The Australian squad is really looking forward to the challenge," he said.
Opener Hughes, who missed the series against England in June due to a dislocated shoulder, returns to the squad.
"The squad we have selected sees the return from injury of Phillip Hughes and includes a very good mix of experience
and new young talent with Steven Smith, Hughes and two young fast bowlers in Peter George and Josh Hazlewood," Hilditch said.
George and Hazlewood will be part of the new-look Aussie pace attack which will be spearheaded by Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger.
While the 23-year-old George is yet to make his international debut in any form of the game, the 19-year-old
Hazlewood has a one-dayer against England to his credit in June.