Usman Khawaja's latest snub by national selectors has shocked New Zealand and deprived the batsman og crucial red-ball practice heading into a Test series where Australia can reclaim the No.1 ranking.
Lehmann welcomes Michael Clarke's return
Raiders triumph in golden point thriller
Swans hold off brilliant Blues
Robbie Farah: Coach defends controversial drop
Cats too potent for Crows
Saints edge wounded Dogs
Storm hold off spirited Roosters
Stephen Dank wounded in Ascot Vale
Lehmann welcomes Michael Clarke's return
Australian coach Darren Lehmann shares his excitement upon hearing that former captain Michael Clarke is coming out of retirement.
The man regarded by many as Australia's player of the summer has lost out to Shaun Marsh for the first one-dayer in Auckland on Wednesday, as selectors opted to stay true to their 50-over pecking order. Khawaja is clearly a long way down the list with the injured Aaron Finch also rated ahead of him.
But what makes this omission arguably the most baffling is the fact Khawaja was initially left out of the one-day squad so he could play in a Sheffield Shield game to prepare for the Tests only to be flown over as a last-minute call-up to carry the drinks.
Captain Steve Smith said Khawaja will play in at least one of the final two one-dayers, which gives him the chance to face international quality bowlers. But the left-hander could easily have played for Queensland and still had enough time to fly over to New Zealand for the final match of the series on Monday.
The move is even more perplexing given Australia can return to the top of the Test rankings with victory in the two-Test series. It is a clear sign the team is not treating the one-dayers as a Test warm-up.
Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum said he was surprised to see Khawaja left out of the XI.
"He's been the form batsman of the Australian summer across all forms of the game," McCullum said. "He's in incredible touch."
Khawaja has been in red hot form in the Test and Twenty20 arenas but that has not been enough for him to climb above Marsh in the 50-over format.
Marsh has been rewarded for his scores of 71, 62 and seven while David Warner was on parental leave.
It is not the first time this selection panel has made players bang the door down through weight of runs.
Smith started last summer out of the ODI side and did not get the chance to establish himself as a regular until Michael Clarke injured his hamstring in the first game against South Africa. Smith finished as the player of the series.
"No doubt he'd be frustrated, he's hitting the ball extremely well," Smith said.
"The one-day side's a tough side to break into. We're the current world champions, we're playing some very good one-day cricket.
"The batters have been scoring lots of runs, we've scored 300 on every occasion in the recent one-day series at home.
"I'm sure if he gets an opportunity he will take it with both hands."
The opening rubber to the Chappell-Hadlee series marks the first time Australia have returned to Eden Park since their thrilling loss to the Black Caps in last year's World Cup.
Instead of batsmen feasting on the venue's short boundaries, both sides capitulated in the swing-friendly conditions.
Australia's batsmen prepared for that game by launching long balls on the neighbouring ground, breaking a window in the process. But it will be a more measured approach this time.
"They [conditions] are a little bit different in New Zealand, the ball tends to swing around for a lot longer, you do have to give yourself extra time to get in," Smith said.
"You can't go out there and go hard from ball one, you have to give yourself a chance.
"That's what I've been talking to the batters about the last couple of days - make sure you're doing that knowing we can make up a lot of the runs in the back end on these small grounds."
AUSTRALIA: Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Steve Smith (capt), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood.