Australia’s first ODI line-up of the summer has dropped – and it features the shock axing of one of the country’s biggest stars.
Despite a strong Test showing in a badly beaten outfit and a man-of-the-series effort in the ODIs against Pakistan in the UAE, all-rounder Steve Smith has been left out of the XI in favour of George Bailey for the opening one-dayer against South Africa in Perth.
Smith scored a maiden one-day century against Pakistan, but it was not enough to cement a spot ahead of the experienced Bailey.
Fast bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Josh Hazlewood are the other big winners from the contentious team announcement, snaring places in the Australian attack ahead of the likes of South Australian Kane Richardson.
It is sure to be a fiery showdown in Perth on Friday following the explosive series on South African soil earlier this year. The Proteas’ outspoken fast-bowling spearhead Dale Steyn, who had an infamous run-in Michael Clarke during Australia’s tour, was gagged by team management ahead of the series opener.
Michael Clarke (c)
1st ODI: Australia v South Africa, 11:20am(AWST)/2:20pm(AEDT), Friday November 14 at the WACA Ground, Perth.