SYDNEY: Controversial all-rounder Andrew Symonds was a notable omission from Australia's squad for this year's Ashes cricket tour to England when it was announced here on Wednesday.
Selectors named a 16-man squad with three all-rounders -- Shane Watson, Andrew McDonald and Marcus North -- but there was no room for the 34-year-old Symonds.
Symonds has had a chequered 26-Test career and has not played for Australia since last year's Boxing Day Test against South Africa in Melbourne following a season of injury, poor form and off-field personal problems.
"Selectors have a tough job picking any team and it's obviously hard picking an Ashes squad and unfortunately for Andrew this time there hasn't been room in the 16-man squad for him," skipper Ricky Ponting said at the team announcement.
"He made a reasonable comeback in the one-day team (against Pakistan) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the last few weeks and unfortunately he missed out on this selection.
"But I know he'll keep working hard and he'll give himself every opportunity to make his way back into the team in the future."
Chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, said the selection of injury-prone Watson was subject to his recovery from a groin injury.
"I suppose Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson were competing for the same spot, I would class them both as batters who give us quality overs at their best, but on this occasion Shane has been preferred because in the selectors' view he adds great balance to the team," Hilditch said.
"Shane was in extremely good form before his minor injury and in addition he gives us quality pace bowling and he's capable of batting anywhere in the top six, so we think he's a very good selection for the Ashes tour."
Watson said he expected to be bowling in the nets next week after recovering from his latest setback and to be fit and ready by the time the team arrives in England.
Opening batsman Phillip Hughes is the youngster of the tourists at 20, and comes into the Ashes series on the back of scoring four centuries during a recent six-week English county guest stint with Middle+++.
"Phil Hughes has been setting the world on fire over there which is great for him and the team when we all arrive and get under way," Ponting said.
"We have a great balance of youth and experience, so hopefully when the big moments come around it will be all of us who stick our hands up and get the job done."
Ponting's touring party will have a six-strong pace attack, headed by 310-Test wicket-taker Brett Lee and left-armer Mitchell Johnson.
They will be backed up by Stuart Clark, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus and Watson.
Off spinner Nathan Hauritz was handed the specialist spinner's role, supported by Marcus North and left-armer Michael Clarke.
South Australian Graham Manou was named as a back-up wicketkeeper to Brad Haddin.
The five-Test series starts with the First Test in Cardiff from July 8 and finishes with the Fifth Test at The Oval in late August.
Australia hold the Ashes after whitewashing England 5-0 in the last 2006-07 series at home after losing the famous urn in a titanic 2-1 defeat in England in 2005.