Big break … all-rounder James Faulkner. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
TASMANIAN all-rounder James Faulkner has been called into Australia's one-day squad to replace the injured Moises Henriques and is in line to make his ODI debut against the West Indies later this week.
Faulkner joins the Australian squad for the first two ODIs against the Windies in Perth on Friday and Sunday. Henriques has been sidelined for the two matches after undergoing minor surgery on a finger injury.
National selector John Inverarity said Faulkner will first play for the Prime Minister's XI against the Windies in Canberra on Tuesday, before joining the Australian squad in Perth. Faulkner has been part of Australia's ODI and T20 squads already this summer, but hasn't added to the solitary international T20 cap he collected last year.
The Windies, the T20 world champions, will begin their quest to translate their short-form dominance into the 50-over arena when they take on a Ricky Ponting-led Prime Minister's XI at Manuka Oval. The tourists will gain a valuable hitout before they face an Australian outfit coming off a 2-2 series draw with Sri Lanka.
Adapting to the extra bounce of Australian pitches shouldn't be a problem for the Windies, with five of their 15-man squad having enjoyed stints in the BBL.
While master blaster Chris Gayle didn't set the world on fire with the Sydney Thunder, he's still one of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket. All-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who along with spinner Sunil Narine (both Sydney Sixers), paceman Kemar Roach (Brisbane Heat) and hard-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard (Adelaide Strikers), rounded out the large Windies BBL contingent, believed they would be able to learn valuable lessons from the domestic Twenty20 competition.
''It gives us an advantage and gives us an insight into how the Aussies think,'' Bravo said. ''We look up to most of them, so it's good to share the same dressing rooms. The Big Bash helped a lot in us getting used to the conditions and we're going to try to make sure to pass on whatever advantage we have.''
Apart from all-rounder Marlon Samuels, who is still recovering from a facial injury suffered while playing for the Melbourne Renegades, the Windies are at full strength. However, Roach will bypass Canberra and join the squad in Perth after taking a later flight from the Caribbean to be at the birth of his child.
Gayle had a forgettable BBL campaign, scoring just one half century, but returns to the scene of one of his most memorable innings.
The 33-year-old smashed 146 off just 89 balls against the PM's XI three years ago.
''We all know Chris is one of the best players in the world, you can't hide that, and these conditions suit him,'' Bravo said. ''I know obviously he had a bad Big Bash this year but the previous seasons he did well with the bat. I hope that people remember that and know that he's still dangerous.''
Retired great Ponting will lead a side light on with first-class experience but brimming with talent. Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and fringe Test batsman Usman Khawaja join promising paceman Gurinder Sandhu, spinner Ashton Turner and Pakistan-born refugee Fawad Ahmed in the line-up for the first match in Canberra under lights.