Williams left out of Aussie ODI squad
Gillespie and Lee returned to 13-man squad for first four games of the tri-series with India & Zimbabwe.india Updated: Dec 31, 2003 14:41 IST
Brad Williams has been squeezed out of the Australian one-day team in a worrying sign for the speedster as he attempts to hold his place in the team for Friday's deciding Test against India.
Williams and Michael Kasprowicz were omitted on Wednesday from a 13-man squad for the opening four matches of the triangular one-day series against India and Zimbabwe to make way for the return of Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie.
Lee and Gillespie, two of Australia's leading front-line bowlers, missed Australia's recent limited overs tour of India because of injury.
Lee, Nathan Bracken and Williams are fighting for two places in the Australian XI for the fourth Sydney Test against India and if Williams cannot make the one-day cut, his Test prospects also appear slim.
Michael Clarke, now a regular in the Australian one-day side as he homes in on Steve Waugh's Test place, said Williams had paid the price for the depth available to selectors.
"Brad is bowling well and has been bowling well for a long time," Clarke said on Wednesday.
"He's a great player but Brett Lee is back and Jason Gillespie is there and unfortunately for Brad, that is the strength of Australian cricket.
"That is also the advantage Australia has over a lot of other countries."
Fast-bowling berths will be even more scarce when Glenn McGrath returns from an ankle injury during the tri-series, which gets under way with Australia playing India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 9.
Williams took 11 wickets in six matches at an average of 21.16 in the series against India and New Zealand, carrying the attack with Bracken to help Australia lift the trophy.
He has taken nine wickets in three Test appearances this summer, fielding like a demon and being one of the few players spared criticism by coach John Buchanan in his leaked letter.
Brad Hogg was chosen for the tri-series despite unconvincing form for Western Australia while Ian Harvey, forever trying to nail down a permanent berth, also hung on to keep his yellow cap.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said it was up to the chosen bowlers to keep Williams and Kasprowicz on the outer.
"Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee, who missed the recent one-day series in India, have been recalled to the squad following injury," Hohns said.
"That's hard on Brad Williams and Michael Kasprowicz, who performed so well in India, but we only have room for so many fast bowlers in the squad.
"Brad and Michael's performances in India were very good and noted by selectors, but it's now up to those in the squad to take their opportunity."
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain), Michael Bevan, Andrew Bichel, Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds.