Hodge, Ferguson favourites to replace injured Watson in Oz Ashes squad

June 24th, 2009 - 2:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 24 (ANI): Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has said that he is prepared to call up a batting replacement to the Ashes squad because of Shane Watson’s knee injury.

The injury-hit all rounder was ruled out of the four-day tour match starting on Wednesday against Sussex in Hove after undergoing scans on his knee on Tuesday.

Brad Hodge and Callum Ferguson are considered to be at the front of the queue if Watson’s injury means selectors need to bring in a new batsman, FOX Sports reported.

“We might have to do that. One of the discussions that we had this afternoon was about particularly if we happened to have for some unknown reason a batter hurt themselves in this game, then we could be a little bit short,” Ponting said.

“But we certainly have to consider that and the other thing to consider is that Shane was probably picked as the spare batsman on the tour,” he added.

Meanwhile, pacer Brett Lee has been handed the opportunity to resurrect his Test career in the tour match in Hove.

Ponting said it was vital for all of the players to make a positive start to their Ashes campaign. “I think it is crucial for all of us, no more for Brett than anybody else it is the start of the Ashes tour for us,” he said.

“As a batting group all the guys want to get out there and spend as much time out in the middle and make runs and get used to the conditions considering that they might be reasonably similar to what we get in the first Test in Cardiff and as a bowling group.

“Those four quicks that we have got playing the game and Nathan Hauritz, they want to make the most of every opportunity they get,” Ponting added.

Pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson has been rested from the fixture.

It leaves Lee, Stuart Clark, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus fighting it out for the remaining fast bowling spots for the first Ashes Test in Cardiff starting July 8. (ANI)

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