Ponting rested, Hodge in

Australian captain Ricky Ponting is being rested for Australia’s one-day Commonwealth Bank Series match against England in Brisbane on Friday.

Brad Hodge has been named as Ponting’s replacement after an impressive Ford Ranger Cup season to date where he has scored 246 runs from six limited over matches at an average of 49.20 with two half centuries and a highest score of 88.

Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said Ponting being rested was in line with Cricket Australia’s policy of mangaging the work-load of key players ahead of the World Cup in the Caribbean in March.

Hilditch said “We feel that Ricky Ponting needs and deserves a break. He has played every match for Australia in all forms of the game since the DLF finals in Malaysia in September, and we think this is the right time for him to allow his body to rest ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup. We’ve taken this approach to managing workload in previous years with success.”

Hilditch went onto say that “Brad Hodge is a logical replacement for Ricky in this squad of 14. He has been in exceptional form for Victoria this summer and will enjoy this opportunity in the 14-man squad for Friday’s game.”

There is good news on the injury front with Australian physiotherapist Alex Kountouris saying Lee was over the worst of his bronchitis and is expected to be fit for the match on Friday against England.

Glenn McGrath who has a minor groin injury will be reassessed by medical staff on Wednesday but it is expected that he too will be available for selection.

Ben Hilfenhaus is remaining with the squad, but should his services not be required in Brisbane, he will return to Hobart to play for Tasmania against Queensland in a Pura Cup match.

Australia Squad
Adam Gilchrist (captain), Michael Hussey (vice captain), Brad Hodge, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Stuart Clark, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Brad Hogg, Mitchell Johnson, Cameron White, Ben Hilfenhaus

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