Allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques were handed a Test call up in Australia's 17-member squad as the selectors today decided to go for a strong bowling attack for their four-Test tour of India starting next month.
Xavier Doherty and Steven Smith were also included in the team along with Nathan Lyon as Australia went for four spinners to exploit the spin-friendly conditions in the subcontinent.
James Pattinson, who was out of cricket due to a rib injury and side strain, also made a comeback to the Test team, while Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson are the other pacers who were included in Australia's five-strong pace attack.
Vice-captain Shane Watson, who had sustained a left calf injury while bowling on day one of the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in December, was included as a specialist batsman.
Opener David Warner, who has been ruled out of the first two ODIs against the West Indies starting tomorrow due to an injured thumb, was also picked in the squad and also back in the mix was batsman Usman Khawaja.
"This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India, and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players," selection committee chairman John Inverarity said.
"In aiming for more depth in a bowling attack, the squad would allow for three pace bowlers, a leading spinner and Maxwell, or two pace bowlers, the two spinners and Henriques. These are two of the options," he added. Australia will play two warmup games in Chennai on February 12-13 and February 16-18 ahead of the first Test starting at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on February 22.
"We have a good opportunity for members of the squad to get well acclimatized to the conditions," Inverarity said.
Doherty hasn't played Test cricket since his two tests in the Ashes defeat at home in 2010-11 but his recent form in limited over cricket saw him selected.
"We certainly feel he is much improved in the longer format of the game since he made his Test debut in 2010-11 against England," said Inverarity.
Squad: Michael Clarke (c), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird.