Melbourne – Australia dropped batsman George Bailey from the squad for their three-Test tour of South Africa on Monday and brought uncapped Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh into the 15-man party.
Bailey made his debut in the first Test of the recently concluded Ashes series but scored only 183 runs at an average of 26 as an unchanged Australia romped to a 5-0 sweep of England.
Bowling all-rounder James Faulkner, who was 12th man throughout the Ashes series, was also included in the party and is likely to contend with Doolan and Marsh for the number six spot in the batting order vacated by Bailey.
“We felt Alex and Shaun have games that are well suited to facing South Africa in South Africa,” chief selector John Inverarity said in a news release.
“We consider that both are strong players of pace bowling which is important given the strength of South Africa's attack.
“Alex was on standby for the recent fifth test in Sydney and scored a most impressive 165 not out against South Africa for Australia A last season.
“Shaun is a talented batsman who is striking the ball very well at the moment. He has the technique and potential to do well.”
Former test opener Phil Hughes, who was in outstanding form for South Australia this season in the domestic Sheffield Shield, was omitted but remained “a highly regarded batsman whose time will come,” Inverarity said.
James Pattinson and Jackson Bird have been called up to reinforce the pace attack of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, which played a major role in the humiliation of England in the Ashes.
“James Pattinson is regaining fitness and form,” Inverarity added.
“At his best he is a fine test match bowler. Jackson Bird shaded out Nathan Coulter-Nile for the final bowling position and each of these bowlers is showing encouraging form.”
There was no place for fast bowler Pat Cummins, however, as he continues to recover from the latest of a string of injuries that have plagued him since he made his sensational test debut in South Africa in 2011.
In his only Test match to date, the then-teenager took 6/79 in the second innings as Australia beat the hosts by two wickets at Wanderers.
That series was drawn 1-1 and South Africa won 1-0 in Australia in another tight series in 2012.
South Africa have topped the test rankings since deposing England in August 2012 and open the series against Australia at Centurion on February 12.
Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice captain), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson. – Reuters