Haddin & Rogers recalled for Ashes

Australia has recalled its veteran players to boost their squad ahead of the Ashes tour.

Cricket ball. Picture: Sxc.hu.

SYDNEY - The shallow depth of Australia's cricketing stocks were exposed on Wednesday with selectors being forced to recall two 35-year-olds in an attempt to wrest back the Ashes from England in July.

Veteran wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who had been dumped last year, and top-order batsman Chris Rogers, who had played just one test in 2008, were named in a 16-man squad for the first of back-to-back Ashes series against England.

Haddin will reclaim the vice-captaincy from Shane Watson, who relinquished the post earlier this week but still made the Ashes squad as a batting all-rounder, while the uncapped James Faulkner was named the bowling all-rounder.

Haddin's recall was less of a surprise and had been widely predicted by local media earlier on Wednesday.

"His leadership and his experience will play a large part in this group, the best teams in the world have a good mix of youth and experience and I think this squad of 16 has that mix.

Australia's planning and confidence to regain the Ashes from Alastair Cook's side when the first game begins at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on July 10 suffered a massive dent last month when they were hammered 4-0 in the test series in India.

The result on the sub-continent, however, was merely a manifestation of the loss of experience and world class talent from the side that dominated the game for more than a decade from the early-1990s.

The trickle of retirements from that side, which included greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist, ended with former captain Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey calling time on their international careers over the Australian summer.

Chairman of selectors John Inverarity conceded earlier this month the Australian side were lacking in batting depth, which had probably tipped the selectors in Rogers' favour.

The 35-year-old, who made 19 runs on debut against India in 2008, had produced strong domestic form while playing first-class cricket in England over the last few seasons.

Matthew Wade was promoted in his stead and had seemingly sealed the berth for the long term as the selectors looked to focus on younger players in an effort to regain the Ashes.

Inverarity said Haddin's experience against England - his career average is 35.50 in 44 tests but 45.57 against England in nine matches - had swung the selection as the first choice wicketkeeper-batsman on the Ashes tour "about a week ago", though Wade was still very much in their future planning.

"Matthew Wade remains very highly regarded by the selection panel," Inverarity said. "Brad is the man for the Ashes, but Matthew remains very highly regarded."