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Symonds back in Australia Test squad

November 13, 2008 14:19 IST

Sorely missed in the series defeat against India, embattled all-rounder Andrew Symonds on Thursday made a comeback to the Australian team for the first Test against New Zealand later this month.

Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel (NSP) named Symonds in the 13-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand starting at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 20.

It marks Symonds' comeback to the Test squad after being dumped for the 'gone-fishing' episode which was construed as an instance of his lack of commitment to the team.

NSP chairman Andrew Hilditch said Symonds has completed the programme CA had planned for him since that episode and deserved his place in the side.

"The National Selection Panel has been advised by Cricket Australia that Andrew Symonds has successfully completed the prescribed plan to enable us consider him for selection for the Australian cricket team," Hilditch said.

"Over the previous 12 months, Andrew has cemented his place in the Test team with outstanding performances at home and in the West Indies, and he now deserves to come back into the Australian squad," he added.

Though Michael Clarke was named in the squad, there is a cloud of doubt over the availability of the Australian vice-captain who is yet to recover after contracting a virus during the Nagpur Test in India.

"Michael Clarke has been selected subject to fitness. Michael contracted a virus during the fourth Test in India and was extremely ill during the match. An assessment on his availability will be made in Brisbane," Hilditch said.

Jason Krejza's sensational debut in the Nagpur Test, where he grabbed 12 wickets to conjure up a Man of the Match award, saw him retain his place in the squad at the cost of fellow spinner Cameron White.

"Jason Krejza richly deserves to retain his place in the side after such an outstanding debut in Nagpur. It will now be a significant challenge for him to adapt back to Australian conditions and continue his development," Hilditch reasoned.

"Obviously it will be disappointing for Cameron White to miss selection after playing four Tests in India. With our return to Australia however, only one specialist spinner has been named in the squad," he added.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin (w/k), Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.

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