Captain says players in the final XI have earned their place with good form.
Confident captain Michael Clarke said Monday there will be no surprises in Australia’s team for the first Ashes Test with players in such good form they were “no brainer” selections.
Australia are due to announce on Tuesday a 13-man squad for the opening clash against England from November 21 and Clarke likes what he has seen so far in the recent one-day tour of India and Sheffield Shield games.
“We are in a good place,” he said as he launched his book, The Ashes Diary, in Sydney after attending a Remembrance Day service with England captain Alastair Cook.
“I honestly think that if they pick 12 players, then 11 of them are no-brainers for Test number one at the Gabba.
“I would imagine the majority pick themselves from the form they have displayed in all forms of the game,” added Clarke.
“The exciting thing about where we are at right now, whether it be batters or bowlers, individual players have stepped up and performed.”
Australia’s position is in stark contrast to the Ashes tour of England earlier this year when their preparations were badly disrupted after coach Mickey Arthur was sacked just 18 days out from the first Test and opening batsman David Warner was suspended for ill discipline.
Clarke said all the players in contention for the five-Test series had done exactly what coach Darren Lehmann had asked of them as they attempt to reverse their 3-0 defeat in England and prevent their old rivals winning a fourth successive Ashes.
“Whether it be in the one-day format in India, the Ryobi Cup or the Sheffield Shield, the players have picked themselves which is a really impressive thing for our team,” he said.
“And it is what Darren Lehmann and myself asked the guys to do: go back to state cricket and take wickets and score runs to be in the front of the selectors’ minds.”
With Chris Rogers and a resurgent Warner set to open the innings, Shane Watson at number three if fit, Clarke at four and Steve Smith at five, who bats number six appears to be the most contentious issue for Australian selectors.
George Bailey is widely tipped to get the nod for his first Test cap after an outstanding one-day tour of India, although all-rounder James Faulkner or specialist batsman Alex Doolan are also in the running.
Paceman Mitchell Johnson is favoured to join Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle as the main strike bowlers with Nathan Lyon offering a spin option, while Brad Haddin is expected to keep wicket.
In contrast, England do not appear as settled with wicketkeeper Matt Prior struggling with a calf muscle injury and star batsman Kevin Pietersen battling a knee problem.
Clarke insisted he had not been paying attention to England’s lead preparations.
“To be honest I’m not concerned about England’s team,” he said.
“I’m really excited about where we sit as a team. I haven’t looked at England at all. I haven’t watched a ball they have bowled on this tour so far.”