The Cricket Australia National Selection Panel (NSP) has announced a 14-player squad for the upcoming Tour of Zimbabwe for a One-Day International tri-series involving the host nation and South Africa.
The tour includes four ODIs (two against each nation) followed by a final on 6 September at Harare Sports Club. It will be the first time Australia has toured Zimbabwe since 2004.
The tour signals the start of a busy summer for the national team, which includes a possible 18 ODIs between now and the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in February.
The 14-man Australian ODI squad for the Tour of Zimbabwe is:
Michael Clarke (c) NSW
George Bailey (vc) TAS
Ben Cutting QLD
James Faulkner TAS
Aaron Finch VIC
Brad Haddin NSW
Mitchell Johnson WA
Nathan Lyon NSW
Mitchell Marsh WA
Glenn Maxwell VIC
Kane Richardson SA
Steve Smith NSW
Mitchell Starc NSW
Shane Watson NSW
Commenting on his first Australian squad as National Selector, Rod Marsh said: "This tri-series against Zimbabwe and South Africa, is another important step in our preparation for the ICC Cricket World Cup early next year.
"While we are certainly advanced in our planning for that tournament there is little doubt that this tour, the three one-day matches in the UAE against Pakistan, along with the Carlton Mid ODI Series against South Africa will all present surprises with form and fitness, so we are pleased that there continues to be strong competition for places. We have introduced a number of players into this squad who provide plenty of options with bat and ball.
"Nathan Lyon has done very well in Test match cricket, but first came under notice through his performances in short form cricket. He bowled well in last year's domestic one-day competition and having not played an ODI since early 2012, the NSP is keen to see him in action again.
"Ben Cutting has been in terrific form for Australia A and bowled his heart out. He also showed outstanding form in the RYOBI Cup competition last summer and has earned his spot.
"Kane Richardson has been bowling beautifully up in Darwin under Mark Waugh's watch and his figures have been terrific. We now want to see him continue that form for the national side.
"The thing we like most about Mitch Marsh at the moment is his bowling. He's capable of opening the bowling or coming on through the middle overs and can do so with good pace which is pleasing. It's the sign of a true all-rounder if they can be in the side for either their bowling or batting and he is certainly getting close to that which is great for Australian cricket.
"Phillip Hughes, Xavier Doherty and Clint McKay can all consider themselves unlucky.
"We would have loved to pick Phillip but it's quite difficult to find the spot for him with a strong batting line-up. He was in superb form during the recent Australia A one-day matches, including a stand-out double-century and the NSP will certainly be continuing to watch him closely.
"We're very aware of what both Xavier and Clint offer and both have played important roles for the ODI team and performed very well but with the World Cup edging closer we have to take opportunities to also consider players like Cutting, Lyon and Richardson who have all been pressing claims," Marsh said.
The squad will go into camp in Brisbane at the National Cricket Centre from 16 August before departing for Zimbabwe on Wednesday 20 August.
Australia Tour of Zimbabwe - Match Schedule
25 Aug: Zimbabwe v Australia, Harare Sports Club (9.30am local start, 5.30pm AEST)
27 Aug: South Africa v Australia, Harare Sports Club (9.30am local start)
31 Aug: Zimbabwe v Australia, Harare Sports Club (9.30am local start)
2 Sept: South Africa v Australia, Harare Sports Club (9.30am local start)
6 Sept: FINAL, Harare Sports Club (9.30am local start)