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Australia name 17-man squad to tour India

Australia will take four spin-bowling options to India for their four-Test tour, with Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith named on Thursday in a 17-man squad alongside Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty. The first Test starts on February 22 in Chennai and national selector John Inverarity said they would be ready for all conditions, with five pace bowlers also included.

Doherty earned selection after recent good form and in the absence of injured left-arm orthodox spinners Michael Beer and Jon Holland.

The pace attack is led by Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird. Explosive opener David Warner was also included, despite a fracture to his left thumb which has forced him out of Australia's first two one-day internationals against the West Indies on Friday and Sunday. Inverarity said he was confident Warner, who is averaging 44.5 from 15 Tests, would recover in time.

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: M Clarke (Capt.), Ed Cowan, D Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, G Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, P Siddle, M Starc, Nathan Lyon, M Henriques, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith.


CLARKE, PONTING TOP IPL AUCTION LIST

Australia captain Michael Clarke and former captain Ricky Ponting attracted the highest base price in the list of 101 players that feature in 2013 IPL players’ auction to be held on Sunday. The Australian duo will go under the hammer with highest reserve price of $400,000 (approx Rs.2 crore). Clarke played for Pune Warriors in IPL 2012 after they bought him on a one-year contract outside of the auction. Ponting was part of the inaugural IPL season, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders. He was released in 2010.


PAKISTAN PLAYERS AGAIN SNUBBED FOR IPL AUCTION


Considered pariahs by IPL since 2008, Pakistani cricketers were once again left out of the list of players to be auctioned for the event’s sixth edition in April-May. The 101-strong list of players does not feature a single Pakistani player despite the resumption of bilateral cricket ties between the two neighbours in December last year.

Pakistani players have been ignored by IPL since 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Even though PCB has been pushing for their inclusion, the efforts have not paid off. And it has got nothing to do with the recent tension that gripped LoC earlier this month after an Indian soldier was beheaded during a violation of the ceasefire. The move to keep Pakistani players out was initiated in December last year even though BCCI had hinted about having them for the auction at least. BCCI’s apprehension stemmed from the fear of controversies given that having sportspersons from across the border remains a sensitive matter in India.
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