BRAD HADDIN's year-long absence from the national team will end on Friday alongside up to four new players when Australia's ODI series against Sri Lanka begins in Melbourne.
Australian selectors have made significant changes from the Test squad, most notably installing George Bailey as captain for the rested Michael Clarke and declining to pick Mike Hussey despite his availability for international matches until the end of the summer.
The latter means Hussey's illustrious late-blooming international career will officially end at the conclusion of the Sydney Test. Batsmen Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch and paceman Ben Cutting are all in line to make their ODI debut on either Friday in Melbourne on next Sunday in Adelaide, with the 13-man squad to be reassessed after those two matches.
Haddin, 35, was recalled after selectors decided to rest Matthew Wade, along with Clarke, for the start of the Sri Lanka ODI series. Chief selector John Inverarity confirmed selectors were adamant Haddin, despite his age, was Wade's number-one understudy.
"We're of the view that the two best wicketkeeper-batsmen are Matthew Wade and Brad Haddin. If something happened to Matthew than Brad Haddin would come into the side," he said on Sunday morning as he announced the squad in Sydney.
"We may or may not take two keepers to India and/or England. At this stage, our firm intention is if we take two it'll be Matthew Wade and Brad Haddin."
Wade is slated to return after the first two matches, although Bailey could deputise for Clarke for a longer period if the 31-year-old is deemed to require a longer period to fully recover from his recent hamstring strain.
While Hussey needs only two more ODI appearances to reach 150 that milestone will not occur, with Inverarity believing it would be futile to extend the 37-year-old's "tremendous" career in the looming ODIs against Sri Lanka and the West Indies given his imminent retirement.
"Our intention before two weeks ago was to give Michael a break during the Sri Lankan series and then have him refreshed and ready to come back into the ODIs against the West Indies and then off to India. Of course things changed a bit last week," Inverarity said.
"We've talked it over with Mike but the overriding fact is what's best for Australian cricket and we move forward and we're very mindful of the 2015 World Cup and we think these ODIs are very important in terms of players like Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes and others having the opportunity being within the team and being in the ODI side rather than playing Big Bash League cricket, partly as an opportunity [to press for selection] for India for those who are selected.
"I think we need to use those places for the future of Australian cricket."
Inverarity described the squad as "particularly exciting". He said uncapped Queensland seamer Cutting, who had not featured in national squads since Mitch Starc beat him to a Test debut at the start of last summer, as "a very good cricketer . . . who could be suited to all three forms".
He also praised Finch, the Victorian batsman who clearly leads the Ryobi Cup run tally and is rivalling Shaun Marsh for that honour in the Big Bash League.
"There are not many more exciting players that Aaron. When he gets runs he gets them in quite spectacular fashion," Inverarity said.
Finch and Hughes will be Australia's openers for the start of the ODI series, with the batsman who impresses more likely to keep his position as partner to David Warner once the left-hander returns from his post-Tests break.
SQUAD: George Bailey (c), Ben Cutting, Xavier Doherty, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Phillip Hughes, David Hussey, Mitch Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Clint Mckay, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc.