Former Aussie skipper takes first coaching role
MICHAEL Clarke has been handed his first elite coaching gig and will take charge of the Prime Minister's XI squad later this month.
Clarke, who retired at the end of Australia's disappointing 2015 Ashes tour, will take control of a squad boasting recently axed international stars Adam Voges, George Bailey and Joe Burns as well as some of the best emerging talents in the country.
Clarke captained Australia for 47 Tests during a difficult period of transition for the national side, finishing with 24 wins, 16 losses and seven draws.
The PM's XI will play Sri Lanka in a T20 match at Manuka Oval in Canberra on February 15.
"Adam Voges as captain will provide a wealth of experience, having played 20 Test matches and captained the Perth Scorchers to the recent Big Bash League title, as will George Bailey and Joe Burns, who have represented Australia in ODI and Test cricket respectively this summer," said interim selector Greg Chappell.
Voges and Burns both copped the axe from the Test team after Australia's dismal showing in Hobart, where they were bowled out for 85 against a South African attack missing star Dale Steyn.
Bailey's international future remains equally clouded after he was snubbed for the home one-day series against Pakistan and the current tour of New Zealand.
Also picked is Victorian quick James Pattinson, who continues to get back to peak fitness after being laid low for much of last year with shin and back injuries.
"He's a player of significant interest to the (national selectors)," Chappell said.
"This match is an opportunity to get him back into some competitive cricket.
"(South Australian fast bowler) Daniel Worrall is also coming back from injury, and this is a chance for him to step up his preparation for the back-end of the season."
Highly rated batsman Will Pucovski, who earned his Shield debut with Victoria this week, headlines the next generation stars picked - along with 17-year-old batsman Jason Sangha, 18-year-old offspinner Arjun Nair and young quick Henry Thornton.
"It's part of the pick and stretch policy we have with our young players, to keep exposing them to more challenges at the highest level possible, to help them develop their skills," Chappell said.
"We believe that playing against a touring team and sharing the dressing room with some players that have represented their country is a great learning opportunity for these young players."
PM's XI to face Sri Lanka: Adam Voges (c), George Bailey, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Arjun Nair, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Henry Thornton, Daniel Worrall, Matthew Gilkes (12th man). Coach: Michael Clarke