sport

Hussey axed by Australia

David Hussey has been dropped from a 13-man Australia squad for the first two one-day internationals against the West Indies.

The Victoria and Melbourne Stars batsman has been overlooked in favour of Aaron Finch as the national selection panel seek to freshen up a batting order which struggled at times during the recent one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Australia were bowled out for 170 in Adelaide and a shocking 74 in Brisbane as they drew the five-match series 2-2. Hussey averaged 32 and, though that placed him third among Australian batsmen, he has paid the price.

Selector John Inverarity said: "The NSP was delighted with the ODI team's impressive win against Sri Lanka in Hobart on Wednesday, in particular with Phillip Hughes' well-crafted innings (of 138 not out) and the bowling of Xavier Doherty and Moises Henriques.

"There were concerns, however, with the team's batting performances during the series when the conditions were conducive to swing bowling, conditions that were beautifully exploited by Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga.

"Aaron Finch has been included in the squad at the expense of David Hussey. A top four of (David) Warner, Finch, Hughes and (Michael) Clarke has good balance and the team looks forward to getting better starts than has been the case recently.

"David Hussey has been dropped from the squad as the NSP keeps a constant eye on the future."

Hussey's elder brother Michael retired from international cricket earlier this month.

Captain Clarke is included despite a nagging ankle injury while Inverarity also offered encouraging prognoses on the fitness of absent seamer James Pattinson and all-rounder Shane Watson.

"Michael Clarke is making steady progress with the ankle he injured on 22 January and we are confident that Michael will recover in time to be fit for the first of the ODI fixtures against the West Indies on 1 February," he said.

"James Pattinson came under consideration for this squad but, at the time of the selection meeting, he had not bowled a ball in interstate or international cricket since 24 November. It is anticipated that James will go to Perth to practice with the squad.

"Shane Watson has been making pleasing progress in recent weeks. He is planning on playing for his Sydney club tomorrow and will be available for selection for New South Wales' RYOBI One-Day Cup fixture against Western Australia on 30 January."

The two games, in Perth next Friday and Sunday, kick off a five-match series with a single Twenty20 international to follow.