MELBOURNE (AFP) - Australia omitted a trio of star players from its squad to face Pakistan this month, preferring to rest them ahead of the Ashes campaign in England. Selectors told skipper Ricky Ponting, batsman Michael Hussey and bowler Mitchell Johnson to sit out the limited overs series against Pakistan, which will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for security reasons. Instead they brought troubled all-rounder Andrew Symonds in from the cold and welcomed back injury-prone Queenslander Shane Watson and veteran quick Brett Lee, subject to fitness. Michael Clarke was named captain of the touring party, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin replacing him as vice-captain. Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said Australia was "managing the workload" of Ponting, Hussey and Johnson ahead of the World Twenty20 and the Ashes. "Having Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey in prime form mentally and physically for the Ashes is critical, and the series against Pakistan is the only opportunity to give them an appropriate break prior to the start of a very important period," he said. "Mitchell Johnson is now a key bowler in all three forms of the game for Australia, and we've also taken this opportunity to provide him with a break before he commences preparation for the World Twenty20 and Ashes." Hilditch said Symonds, who was dropped and told to seek counselling after a series of alcohol-related incidents, had a chance to redeem himself and revive his career. "At his best Andrew is a dynamic one-day player with an outstanding record for Australia," he said. "It will now be up to him to seize this opportunity." Watson was selected as a batsman rather than an all-rounder because a bad back will prevent him bowling, although Hilditch was hopeful he may be able to send down a few balls late in the series. Hilditch said Lee, a surprise inclusion, was selected subject to fitness after undergoing ankle and foot surgery. "His return to bowling at full pace will be monitored carefully and will be reviewed closer to the date of the commencement of the tour," he said. Fast bowler Peter Siddle did not make the squad but Hilditch said the selectors still believed he could play an important role in the Ashes. The series, which includes five one-dayers and a single Twenty20 match, begins on April 22. The 14-man squad named Wednesday to play Pakistan in a one-day series in the United Arab Emirates beginning this month: Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Ben Laughlin, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.