Melbourne, Nov 17 (IANS)
Australia chief coach Graham Reid Monday named a young squad, that does not include stars like Jamie Dwyer and skipper Mark Knowles, to defend their international hockey federation (FIH) Champions Trophy title. The young trio of Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson and Flynn Ogilvie were handed call-ups after making their international debuts against India in November and are part of an 18-member squad which includes 11 World Cup winners and 11 Commonwealth Games gold medallists.
A number of seniors were not considered for selection due to injuries. Captain Knowles is undergoing rehabilitation for a foot injury, as is Joel Carroll, while striker cum penalty corner specialist Kieran Govers is recovering from hip surgery. Five-time FIH Player of the Year Dwyer sustained a ligament injury in his foot at the end of the club season.
Prolific goal-scorer Russell Ford, who missed the World Cup and Commonwealth Games with a calf tear, returned to the squad along with experienced defender Fergus Kavanagh.
"We have increased our depth of experience since the India series with the addition of Fergus Kavanagh and Russell Ford, who have been playing in Europe. As I said when we announced the initial training group back in October, we are using the Champions Trophy as another opportunity to expose our younger players to the rigours of international competition," Redid said.
"I think we have a good balance of youth and experience, however we do have a lot of work to do before the tournament starts on Dec 6 and the team is well aware of this."
Penalty corner expert Chris Ciriello will make his 150th appearance in Australia's opening match against England while Tim Deavin is on course to reach a century of appearances for the Kookaburras if he plays in all the six matches. Simon Orchard returns having made his comeback from a broken thumb in the Kookaburras' fourth Test against India earlier in the month.
Australia have won the last five Champions Trophy titles, a run that stretches back to the 2008 tournament in Rotterdam, making Australia the most successful nation in the history of the competition having won 14 gold medals since the event began in 1978.
Australia will take on Belgium after opening the biennial tournament against England, with 2012 runners-up Pakistan their final Pool A opponents.
Australia team for Champions Trophy:
Daniel Beale, Chris Ciriello, Andrew Charter (Goalkeeper), Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Tim Deavin, Russell Ford, Matt Gohdes, Jeremy Hayward, Fergus Kavanagh, Tyler Lovell (Goalkeeper), Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Simon Orchard, Glenn Simpson, Jake Whetton, Tristan White, Aran Zalewski.