Sydney - Australia named their team on Tuesday for the Fed Cup tennis qualifier in South Korea beginning this week, with a "rusty" former world No 8 Alicia Molik missing from the line-up.
Australia will play in a Asia/Oceania Zone Group I round-robin competition starting in Seoul Wednesday, led by world No 57 Samantha Stosur in Molik's absence.
Molik had been tipped to make her long-awaited return from a debilitating virus, but was left out of the four-woman team by Australia Fed Cup captain David Taylor.
Taylor said on Tuesday that Molik, now ranked 295 in the world after being struck down with a severe inner-ear infection last March, was not yet ready to return to the international stage.
"She came here on Wednesday to give herself the best chance of being ready," Taylor told ABC radio. "Unfortunately for Alicia she hasn't played the sort of tennis that would warrant her selection in the team at this stage."
"She's just a bit too rusty. No doubt she'll get back to a level where she'll be playing tournament tennis again, but unfortunately that hasn't happened this week," he said.
Stosur will be joined by experienced campaigners Nicole Pratt and Rennae Stubbs in the four-woman team, along with debutante Casey Dellacqua.
The team's doubles combination is expected to be formidable, with Stosur ranked No 1 in the world in doubles and Stubbs ranked No 6.
"I'm really pleased with the squad of players that we've assembled for this Fed Cup competition and I'm confident they can do the job for Australia," Taylor said last month when the initial squad was announced.
The Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I event involves seven nations - Australia, India, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Uzbekistan - competing in two pools in a round-robin format from Wednesday until Friday.
The teams that finish atop each pool will play-off Saturday to determine which nation will be promoted to the World Group II play-offs to be held in July, for a chance to secure a place in the top 16 nations for the 2007 Fed Cup. - Sapa-AFP