Darren Lehmann on the attack during a limited-overs match earlier in the summer.
Darren Lehmann on the attack during a limited-overs match earlier in the summer.

Bye bye Boof?



BRISBANE (AAP): Darren Lehmann's international cricket career appears over after he was omitted from the Australian one-day squad to tour New Zealand.

Lehmann was yesterday left out of the 14-man squad, which included Queensland selection bolter James Hopes, West Australian batsman Mike Hussey and out-of-form opener Matthew Hayden.

It ends a rocky last five months for the South Australian batsman whose place in the Test side has been the cause of much debate since a disappointing tour of India.

The 35-year-old was preferred to Simon Katich for the start of the domestic Test season but made way for Shane Watson in the last Test of the summer against Pakistan at the SCG.

Lehmann's one-day spot appeared much firmer after two half-centuries against New Zealand in December but failures in his last three innings, including a first-ball duck due to an impetuous reverse sweep, appears to have sealed his fate.

His place in the middle-order is set to be covered by the selection of the versatile Hussey who can bat effectively from No.1 to No.7.

Commenting on the decision, selection chairman Trevor Hohns paid tribute to Lehmann.

"There were some very hard decisions to make when choosing this squad, none more so than having to overlook Darren Lehmann," said Hohns.

"Darren has been a wonderful player for Australia over a long period of time.

"Throughout his career, his performances have been first class, which has been a telling factor in the team's terrific run of success.

"Not only that, but his unofficial role as a leader amongst the squad has been outstanding. He has been a fine team man.

"However as a selection panel we have to start looking to the future. At 35, age is not on Darren's side and it is fair to say that his performances of late were becoming a concern."

Lehmann, who was told of his exclusion by chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns on Wednesday night, said the selectors had told him his international cricket career may not be over.

"He (Hohns) said there is still a chance that I'll play Test cricket," Lehmann said.

Hussey, has scored 362 runs in the 2004-05 ING Cup at an average of 40.22.

"Mike Hussey has been knocking on the door for some time," said Hohns.

"He has scored runs consistently at domestic level and we feel that if given the opportunity, could do a very good job for Australia.

"He impressed us when making his one-day debut in Perth last summer and we said at the time that he had certainly put his case forward for future selections."

Hopes, a 26-year-old allrounder, has scored 291 runs at 36.37 and claimed 11 wickets at 29.18 in ING Cup this season after battling to keep his spot at the outset.

The limited-overs leg of the Trans-Tasman tour starts next Thursday with the first-ever Twenty20 international.

Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey, James Hopes, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Michael Kasprowicz, Glenn McGrath.



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