Phil Jacques Oz fans favourite to replace Hayden

January 14th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Jan 14 (ANI): A poll conducted among Australian cricket fans has thrown up Phil Jacques to be the favourite to replace Matthew Hayden alongside Simon Katich at the top of the batting order.

Of the 1,384 people who voted, 38 per cent preferred the New South Wales batsman to Chris Rogers (15 per cent), Shaun Marsh (14 per cent), or any other opener (33 per cent), according to The Australian online poll.

Jaques, who makes his return to state cricket in Saturdays Twenty20 game against Victoria, established himself as an Australian opener following the retirement of Justin Langer, scoring 902 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 47.47, with three centuries.

But the left-hander was forced to fly home from the tour of India to undergo back surgery in October. Katich seized on the chance and cemented his spot after a two and a half-year absence.

Jacques returned to the nets on December 21, aiming to win a squad berth for the return tour to South Africa. His hopes of regaining his place in the starting XI will be boosted by Haydens retirement, News.com.au reported.

I scored 100 in my last Test so hopefully they (Cricket Australia) remember that, Jaques said.

I think Ive got the runs on the board. I want to go to South Africa, thats certainly what I am trying for. I am sure I can play a big role for Australian cricket and I cant wait to get back, he added.

But Jacques still faces fierce competition from other in-form openers.

Rogers has scored 661 runs (three centuries) in six Sheffield Shield games this season at an average of 82.62 for Victoria, while NSW young gun Phillip Hughes has scored 730 from seven matches at an average of 56.15 with three centuries in only his second season of representative cricket. (ANI)

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