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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 06:22 GMT
Hussey to captain Aussies in NZ
Mike Hussey
It's a great honour to be selected as captain of Australia in Ricky's absence

Mike Hussey
Batsman Mike Hussey will lead Australia in the forthcoming Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series in New Zealand.

Regular skipper Ricky Ponting will miss the three-match series in order to rest a back problem ahead of the World Cup.

The selectors have also decided to give wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist a break and their places in the squad will be taken by Adam Voges and Brad Haddin.

The series begins in Wellington on 16 February and all three games will be played in the space of five days.

Ponting's back has troubled him throughout the Australian season, but scans have shown there is no serious underlying problem.

"We see the period following the conclusion of the [current] Commonwealth Bank finals as an important window of opportunity in ensuring he is fully fit for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup," he said.

"While he is able to train and play, the injury causes him significant discomfort and we want to alleviate this before the start of what is a major tournament," said team physio Alex Kountouris.

"Through the correct medical management we are confident of Ricky competing pain-free in the West Indies."

Explaining Gilchrist's absence from the squad, chief selector Andrew Hilditch said the 35-year-old had played right through a "demanding summer" and needed time "to allow his body to properly recover".

He added: "Our view is consistent with the management of player workload."

Michael Clarke has been named as Hussey's deputy, but there are no surprises among the bowlers with Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and Mitchell Johnson all included.

Uncapped Voges, meanwhile, is hoping for a first taste of international cricket after being named in the squad for the third Ashes Test aaginst England in Perth last December but failing to make the final XI.

"It's a bit of a surprise, to be honest. To have something like this come out of the blue is pretty amazing," the Western Australia batsman said.

"Having the opportunity to be part of the Australian squad before the Ashes Test in Perth really gave me that extra motivation to continue to work hard on my game so I would get another chance to be part of the Australian side."

Squad: Michael Hussey (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Australia in New Zealand 2007
03 Feb 07 |  Future tour dates


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