Watson gets nod over bad boy Symonds

AUSTRALIA all-rounder Shane Watson admits he is &ldquo;really stoked&rdquo; to be picked ahead of Andrew Symonds for this summer&rsquo;s Ashes series.<br /><br />The 27-year-old has not bowled a ball since December due to a groin strain and remains a major injury doubt for the start of the five-Test series.<br /><br />But still he has been preferred to his colourful Queensland team-mate in the 16-man party as he &ldquo;adds a balance to the squad&rdquo;, according to chief selector Andrew Hilditch.<br /><br />Symonds, who was fined by Cricket Australia over a remark he made in a radio interview five months ago, was tipped for a recall by captain Ricky Ponting this week, but does not even make the squad as back-up, with Andrew McDonald preferred.<br /><br />Watson said: &ldquo;I am really stoked that I have been given an opportunity over Andrew. It&rsquo;s been a bit of a battle, I replaced him during the Indian tour and then missed out during the summer here for the first few Tests. Of course, it&rsquo;s bittersweet because I love the opportunity of playing Test cricket for Australia and you feel for one of your mates if he doesn&rsquo;t get picked.&rdquo;<br /><br />Another casualty is spinner Brad Hodge, leaving Nathan Hauritz as the only specialist slow bowler in the party. Hauritz is one of 11 players who are set for their first Ashes tour, while Graham Manou is the only uncapped player in the 16, providing back-up to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.<br /><br />Pace duo Brett Lee and Stuart Clark, injured for much of the Australian season, have also been included.