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Australia's Voges puts marriage before team

AUSTRALIAN middle-order batsman Adam Voges has turned down the chance to play for his country to marry his sweetheart.

The 29-year-old Voges announced yesterday he had withdrawn from the Australian one-day team to tour South Africa in order to stay home and tie the knot.

"It's a big thing to give up an opportunity to play for Australia," he told reporters. "But I guess you only get married once and that's important to me and a decision I've made and one that I'm comfortable with."

Voges has played just one ODI and three Twenty20s for Australia and had already booked his wedding date long before his surprise inclusion in the team for South Africa.

When he realized the second match of the tour, on April 5, clashed with his date at the alter, he asked the National Selectors Panel (NSP) whether he could return home between the first and third matches.

But Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said the panel would not allow him to return home midway through a series and Voges had to choose one or the other.

"Adam informed us yesterday that he was withdrawing from the tour," Hilditch said. "Obviously this is a difficult decision for Adam to make and the NSP understands the position he's in and the decision he's made."

Hilditch said Marcus North, who is already in South Africa with the test squad, had been chosen to replace Voges. North is a close friend of Voges and was invited to his wedding.

"It means there'll be one less at the wedding," Voges joked.

Voges said he had no regrets about his decision despite knowing how difficult it is to get into the Australian team.

He said the selectors had told him his decision would not count against him in the future but nor was he assured of being picked next time. "There's certainly no guarantees that I'm going to get selected again and I fully understand that and realize that," he said. "It's up to me now to play good enough cricket to get another chance."


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