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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 02:01 GMT 03:01 UK
MacGill and Tait in Ashes squad
Spinner Stuart MacGill has been included in the Australia squad for the Ashes
I don't recall ever wanting to go on a tour more
Stuart MacGill
Spinner Stuart MacGill has been named in Australia's squad for the Ashes tour to England as back-up to Shane Warne.

MacGill earned his place by taking 65 wickets to help New South Wales win the Pura Cup title.

The 16-man squad boasts three uncapped players - bowler Shaun Tait, batsman Brad Hodge in place of Darren Lehmann and reserve wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.

Tait, who matched MacGill's wickets haul playing for South Australia, is the youngest member of the squad at 22.

"We have identified Shaun as a rising talent and this is a selection with a view to the future," said chief selector Trevor Hohns.

"He is a quality, young quick who has impressed us all with his raw pace."

Tait said: "It's the biggest thing that's happened to me so far in my life."

Shaun Tait
Tait is a potential future spearhead of Australia's attack

MacGill, meanwhile, is a proven performer at Test level and has taken 39 wickets in six previous appearances against England, although all of them were in Australia.

Despite that, he has plenty of experience of English conditions after playing for Notts and that earned him selection ahead of young hopeful Dan Cullen.

"Stuart has done everything asked of him when he's been included in the Test team and continued to push his cause with several fine performances for New South Wales," said Hohns.

The inclusion of Hodge in preference to veteran Darren Lehmann poses a potential problem for Lancashire, who signed him as one of their overseas players for the summer.

He has served as back-up batsman on recent tours to India and New Zealand and is a prolific scorer at first-class level with almost 12,000 runs at an average of 47.5 to his credit, including 36 centuries.

"There is a lot of cricket prior to the Test series with the one-dayers - it's a very packed schedule and that schedule brings injuries, form issues all sorts of things," said Hodge.

"I'm quite confident I'll make my debut some time during the five Tests." Haddin, meanwhile, can expect to see plenty of action in the non-international games as Australia look to give Adam Gilchrist a break.

"We are aware of the potential workload on Adam Gilchrist and it's the reason we have opted to choose a reserve keeper for the duration of the tour," said Hohns.

"Over time we have seen Brad as more of a limited-overs specialist, but his efforts at first-class level this season have been very good and this selection is a reward for those performances."

Australia and England will take part in the triangular NatWest Series, also involving Bangladesh, and three NatWest Challenge games prior to the start of the Tests.

One-day specialists Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg retain their places for the first leg of the tour and there are also places for all-rounder Shane Watson and batsman Mike Hussey, who will also captain Durham in county cricket during the summer.

Australia Ashes squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain), Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Justin Langer, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait, Shane Warne.

Australia one-day squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist (vice-captain), Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Michael Kasprowicz, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.

Report: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

Ponting wary of improved England
30 Mar 05 |  Cricket

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