Challenging time for Australian cricket, says Hilditch after series defeat

December 30th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Dec.30 (ANI): Australian cricket’’s chief selector Andrew Hilditch has said that following the team’’s series defeat against South Africa, the sport in the country faces challenging times.
“It’’s a challenging time for Australian cricket, we have seen lots of positive signs from our young players and we are looking forward to the process of rebuilding Australian cricket,” Fox Sports quoted Hilditch, as saying.
Hilditch’’s statement came after the selectors named three uncapped players in their squad of twelve for the third Test against South Africa in Sydney, which starts on Saturday.
New South Wales paceman Doug Bollinger, Tasmania swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus and Victoria all-rounder Andrew McDonald were included in a 12-man squad, with at least two of the trio to debut in Sydney.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said of the call-ups that Bollinger and Hilfenhaus were each enjoying an “exceptional” season in the Sheffield Shield, while McDonald had been a consistent performer for Victoria for several seasons.
“While we are obviously disappointed to lose the series to South Africa, the reality is we have got ourselves in very good positions to win both Test matches,” Hilditch said.
“It must be said that South Africa has played extremely good cricket and is a very strong side,” he added.
Australia’’s defeat by South Africa in the second Test decided the series result and prompted selectors to send Symonds for surgery. Lee could be sidelined for up to two months, while Watson will be sidelined for up to six weeks because of a stress fracture in his back.
Struggling opener Matthew Hayden retained his place in the squad for the third Test despite his lean series.
Hayden’’s selection and the lack of another specialist opener in the squad means the 37-year-old is almost certain to play in Sydney, although it could be his farewell Test.
Hilditch denied, however, that Hayden had been granted a Sydney testimonial despite having scored just 79 runs in seven innings this summer.
The Queenslander was very much part of Australia’’s plans for the 2009 tours to South Africa and England, Hilditch said.
McDonald has enjoyed a strong season in the Sheffield Shield for the table-topping Bushrangers, with 324 runs at 46.28 and 15 wickets at 23.93 in six matches.
Bollinger’’s left-arm pace has yielded 14 wickets at 22.14 for the Blues in the four-day competition, while Hilfenhaus has taken 24 wickets at 18.66 with his right-arm swing.
Bollinger, who opens the bowling for NSW, took six wickets in the recent match against South Australia to bowl his side to victory.
He has also toured India and the Caribbean with the Test team during 2008 - although he did not play a game.(ANI)

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