Lehmann to experiment with squad in clash against India
Sydney: With a place in the One-Day International (ODI) tri-series final booked, Australia coach Darren Lehmann Saturday said he would experiment with their eleven in Monday’s clash against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here.
The Australian selectors were forced to make three changes for Friday’s tense win over England in Hobart and more changes are expected as the home side looks to tinker with the make-up of their team in further preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup, starting Feb 14.
Suspended captain George Bailey will return, as will David Warner who missed Friday’s clash with a sore hamstring, while Mitchell Marsh made 38 off 48 balls for Sydney first grade club side Western Suburbs Saturday, and is expected to be available for selection.
Head coach Lehmann said with their spot secured for the tri-series final in Perth Feb 1, the batting order will experience the biggest shake-up.
“Warner will be fine, he’ll come back in. Watson we’ll just see how he goes at training tomorrow,” said Lehmann.
“We want to get everyone 100 percent fit for the final and the World Cup, so there could be some changes again, and we could bat guys in different positions this game.”
Steve Smith replaced Bailey as captain and scored a match-winning 102 not out to become the first player to score centuries in their captaincy debut in both Test and ODI cricket.
If Watson fails to recover in time for Monday, Smith could retain his position at first drop, and Lehmann is confident his charges can cover all positions and possible scenarios.
Australia could also welcome back pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson. The star fast bowler hasn’t played since the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne against India, and has spent that time recovering from hamstring soreness in Perth.
Whether Johnson will play is still yet to be decided, but Lehmann is thrilled to have his number-one strike bowler back with the squad.
“He’ll be close,” said Lehmann on Johnson’s chances of playing Monday. “He’s been bowling and will be full training tomorrow and hopefully available for selection.”