" The NSP is very happy with the bowling depth in the squad but Watson's absence has meant another top order batsman is necessary."
Melbourne, Aug 16 - Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has been withdrawn from the cricket tour of Zimbabwe due to a sprained ankle after stepping on a ball during training in Brisbane Saturday.

The National Selection Panel (NSP) has selected South Australian batsman Phil Hughes to replace Watson in the 14-man squad for the triangular series against Zimbabwe and South Africa starting in Harare Aug 25.

Shane today unfortunately sprained his right ankle at training, damaging an ankle ligament. His ankle is currently swollen and sore, but expected to recover with a period of rest, Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a Cricket Australia (CA) release.

Due to the compact nature of the tour, we've made a decision that Shane would be unlikely to recover sufficiently in time for the series. He will return to Sydney in coming days to continue his recovery and be ready for the tour of the UAE.

National Selector Rod Marsh said: With Shane ruled out for the tour, the NSP clearly feels the natural player to come in is Phil Hughes. As I've said previously, Phil was unlucky not to be picked in the initial squad after showing some great form in the Australia A Series and was the natural choice to come in for Shane.

The NSP is very happy with the bowling depth in the squad but Watson's absence has meant another top order batsman is necessary.

Hughes will join the squad in Brisbane as soon as possible, pending the situation of the Australia A match in Townsville.


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