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    Big names available for Shield cricket

    Ponting and Mike Hussey will be available for selection in the Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup.

    Melbourne: Former skipper Ricky Ponting and experienced batsman Mike Hussey are among five members of the Australian squad for the South Africa series who will be available for selection in the first round of the Sheffield Shield and the Ryobi Cup.

    Ponting and Hussey alongwith ODI squad members Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Johnson will be available for the Western Australia versus Tasmania Sheffield Shield clash to be played at the WACA from Oct 11-14.

    Should they be selected for respective states, these players will depart for South Africa at the conclusion of the match and arrive approximately 12 hours after the remainder of the ODI squad, Cricket Australia announced on Thursday.

    Australian T20 squad member James Pattinson will be available for Victoria's Ryobi Cup clash with Queensland at the Gabba on Sunday and will arrive in South Africa approximately 48 hours after the remainder of the squad.

    Australia's first Twenty20 game will be played against South Africa on October 13 in Cape Town.

    "In line with recommendations from the Argus review it is pleasing that these players are available to play in this round of Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup matches ahead of what is a hugely important series against South Africa," Cricket Australia General Manager, Cricket Michael Brown said.

    "To have players of such calibre playing in our premier development competitions is a bonus for those young players on the cusp of international selection in all formats of the game."