Sydney - Australia named a 17-man squad on Monday for the first Ashes test against England in Brisbane as selectors looked to keep their options open after a rash of injuries and slumps in form.
Uncapped batsman Usman Khawaja and leg-spinner Steve Smith - both in their early 20s and set to face England for Australia A this week - were surprise inclusions in the party for the Gabba Test, which starts on November 25.
Vice-captain Michael Clarke (back), opener Simon Katich (thumb) and Doug Bollinger (side) were named despite injury concerns, as was fast bowler Ryan Harris, despite his injured knee swelling up after his return last week.
Strike bowler Mitchell Johnson and offspinner Nathan Hauritz have also been given a chance to prove their critics wrong after poor recent displays on the international stage.
Experienced middle-order batsmen Mike Hussey and Marcus North are retained but will have to be on their toes with big-scoring Pakistan-born Khawaja waiting in the wings.
England, who are defending the Ashes, will name their team on the first morning of the first Test in 10 days' time.
Squad - Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Doug Bollinger, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Ryan Harris, Nathan Hauritz, Mike Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Usman Khawaja, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper)