Australia name Ashes squad

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Brad Haddin has been handed a return to the Australia Test squad, and the wicket-keeper will be vice-captain for his country during this summer's Ashes after Shane Watson relinquished the role to focus on his batting.

Watson announced last week his decision to stand down from the position after a spell of poor form with the bat in India and, as expected, Haddin has been made Michael Clarke's deputy, while he will replace Matthew Wade as Australia's first-choice gloveman.

The experience of Haddin, 35, will be vital for an Australian team featuring just five players to have made an Ashes appearance in England, and it is hoped Clarke will benefit from the tactical nous of the 44-Test veteran.

"We feel it's important to have a senior, seasoned player support Michael at this time," said national selector John Inverarity.

"When Shane Watson advised of his decision to stand down, the NSP [national selection panel] viewed Brad as the exceptional candidate to step into this leadership void."

There is a high-profile omission in the form of Mitchell Johnson, who has endured mixed fortunes against England, which leaves Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris as senior pace bowlers in the Australia attack.

Nathan Lyon is selected as the chief spinner, with Xavier Doherty dropping out from the India series, while left-arm seamer James Faulkner is the only player yet to have received his Test cap.

Chris Rogers returns to the Australia squad after a potent spell of domestic batting, with his solitary Test appearance coming against India in 2008. The 35-year-old is, however, vastly experienced in English conditions, having played for four counties.

The Ashes begins on July 10 at Trent Bridge, with tour matches against Somerset and Worcestershire taking place before the much-anticipated series opener.

Australia squad for the Ashes against England: Michael Clarke (C), Brad Haddin (VC), Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.

The Ashes
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