Hayden dropped for Twenty20s and one-dayers against South Africa

January 8th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 8 (IANS) Matthew Hayden’s future with Australian cricket was in doubt Thursday after the left-handed batsman was left out from the squad for the two Twenty20 matches and the one-day series against South Africa.National Selection Panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said that Hayden’s omission had nothing to do with the batsman’s woeful form during the Test series against South Africa.

“The omission of Matthew Hayden from the KFC Twenty20 and Commonwealth Bank Series squads is not a reflection on his performances in the recent Test series but rather a strategic decision made by the National Selection Panel as we plan for these signature events. His possible selection for the upcoming tour of South Africa will be discussed as with all players when we select a squad after the round of interstate matches at the beginning of February,” Hilditch was quoted as saying.

Hilditch said that the opener would still be considered for next month’s South African tour based on his form for Queensland when he returns to state cricket.

“Winning a fourth consecutive ICC World Cup and our first ICC Twenty20 title is an ambitious project. For this reason there will be very few players selected from this point that we can not see playing a role in achieving this goal,” Hilditch said.

And the pressure on Hayden, 37, to retain his spot will only intensify with the return of New South Wales (NSW) batsman Phil Jaques from a long-term back injury Jan 17 in grade cricket.

Also hot on Hayden’s tail are NSW youngster Phillip Hughes, Victorian Chris Rogers, and South Australia’s Michael Klinger - the leading run-scorer in Shield cricket this season.

The door is wide open for any of these batsmen to earn a ticket to South Africa, where Australia must win to protect their standing as the world’s No.1 ranked side.

The selectors also decided to rest Mitchell Johnson from the two Twenty20 matches and first two one-dayers due to a heavy workload, and in his place Shaun Tait has been recalled after briefly taking a sabbatical from the game last summer due to physical and emotional stress.

Speaking about Johnson, Hilditch said: “It has been advised by team medical and fitness staff that due to his workload over the last few months he should continue to be monitored. For this reason he will not be available for selection in these matches.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke will not play in the Twenty20s due to ligament damage to his right thumb suffered during the first Test against South Africa in Perth. NSW opener David Warner has been chosen to make his Twenty20 debut for Australia after a stunning season.

“This injury has required painkilling injections in every batting innings since and for this reason we have decided the best course of action is for him to miss the first two Twenty20 matches. We will continue to monitor the injury over the next four to five days and we are very hopeful of him being fully fit for the beginning of the [one-day] series,” Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.

Australia will meet South Africa in Twenty20 clashes in Melbourne, Sunday and in Brisbane, Tuesday. The five-match one-day series will begin against South Africa Jan 16 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Twenty20 squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey (vice-captain), David Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin (wicket keeper), Shaun Marsh, Shaun Tait, David Warner, Ryan Harris, Cameron White, Nathan Hauritz.

One-day squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Brad Haddin (wicket keeper), James Hopes, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Marsh, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Cameron White, Shaun Tait, Peter Siddle.

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