THE final piece of Australia’s vice-captaincy puzzle will be revealed in Brisbane tomorrow when selectors name their 15-man squad for the final edition of the Champions Trophy.
Brad Haddin was last week named as Michael Clarke’s deputy for the Ashes tour of England after Shane Watson stepped down from the position. But with Haddin unavailable to take part in the Champions Trophy because of his Australia A commitments, a vice-captain for the one day side will be named.
Matthew Wade has emerged as a leading candidate for the role, a week after losing the wicketkeeping duties to Haddin in the Test side. David Warner and George Bailey are also worthy contenders.
The appointment would be a consolation for the 25-year-old Wade, who was initially lauded as Haddin’s long-term replacement, only to be dropped for the veteran wicketkeeper a year later. Australia have won the previous two Champions Trophy tournaments – in India in 2006 and South Africa in 2009 – and selectors are likely to stick with a similar ODI squad to that which played against Sri Lanka and the West Indies in Australia last year.
Fast-bowler Mitchell Johnson is expected to be named in the squad and will be out to make a point after being left out of both the Ashes and Australia A squads, while Mitchell Starc, who is recovering from ankle surgery, will also be included.
The Australians will open their campaign against England at Edgbaston on June 8. Sri Lanka and New Zealand are the other teams rounding out Group A.
Clarke’s squad has slipped to third on the ICC rankings, but is just three ratings points behind the top-ranked Indians. Bookmakers have installed the Australians as equal favourites alongside South Africa to raise the trophy.
The Champions Trophy has battled for relevance in an increasingly crowded international calendar and is to be phased out of the ICC’s schedule.
Australia is set to host the next 50-over World Cup in 2015.
PROBABLE SQUAD: Michael Clarke, David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Xavier Doherty, Matthew Wade, George Bailey, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch/Shaun Marsh.