Symonds And Watson To Provide Spark For Jaded Australia
Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Australia are banking on the return of Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson to provide the spark for a jaded side which takes on Pakistan in the first of five one-day internationals on Wednesday.

The two powerful all-rounders should lift the Australians who are resting captain Ricky Ponting, batsman Mike Hussey and fast bowler Mitchell Johnson for the series against Pakistan which has been moved to the UAE because of security concerns.

"Many people talk about our back-to-back series with South Africa but we have been on the road since the Indian test series and that's about 200 days," Australia coach Tim Nielsen told reporters on Tuesday.

"In the absence of Hussey and Ponting we have a couple of batsmen down the order and we will have to look at the conditions and try and put together the best 11 players," he said.

"Players like Andrew, Shane and Shaun Marsh will add strength and energy to the squad," added Nielsen.

"We haven't played Pakistan a lot over a period but we have had some real ding-dong battles in the past."

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke was also looking forward to the return of fast bowler Brett Lee, who is scheduled to be fit for the third match of the series.

"He is a wonderful player, but what we have seen over the past six to eight months that we can still be successful without Brett," Clarke said.

"If he does come and play the second half of the series, it would be great to see him back in the squad."

Pakistan should be boosted by the return of fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

"We will be looking closely at his fitness. We don't want to put extra burden on him," coach Intikhab Alam said. "The main thing is that he has been working hard and he is motivated to perform well."

The teams play five one-day internationals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi before a Twenty20 match on May 7.


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