Ponting backs Hayden to play on

January 7th, 2009 - 4:34 pm ICT by ANI  

Sydney, Jan.7 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting has described opener Matthew Hayden’’s experience as a valuable asset, and does not visualise him hanging up his gloves any time soon, especially when the team is passing through a transitional phase.
Ponting’’s comments came as the selectors are due to sit down to choose the national one-day and Twenty20 sides to play South Africa on Thursday morning.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there is uncertainty about Hayden’’s selection in either side.
Ponting says that he wants the 37-year-old Hayden to fight his way out of his lean patch in national colours, but added that the decision was in selectors” hands.
“It’’s not up to me. I”d love Matty to keep playing, if you are asking me personally. I”d have him in my team every day of the week because he’’s a champion player and a champion bloke and great for our team right at the moment,” Ponting was quotted, as saying.
“Those sort of experienced guys are great to have around your team when you are rebuilding and in transition. I”d take him into battle every time,” Ponting added.
He also said that he had seen no indication that Hayden was ready to call it quits despite his extended form slump and dropping a crucial catch late in Australia’’s dramatic 103-run Test win on Wednesday at the SCG.
“I”m pretty good mates with Matty. I”ve known him for a long time and I”ve had no indication or inclination either way. He showed a lot of good signs in the second innings of this game on a pretty difficult wicket. I just don”t know one way or the other at the moment. But if anything I”d be saying that it’’s all pretty positive that he wants to go on,” said Ponting.
“That would be my gut feel right now. I think I would have known if it wasn”t that way,” he added.
South African captain Graeme Smith handed Hayden qualified support.
He said he”d prefer that Hayden wasn”t in the Australian team but also felt confident in the way the Proteas had shut him down in their 2-1 Test series win.
“I would probably say yes because I know what he can do and what he is capable of and we have seen him play at a level over a period of time knowing that he has that in him,” he said.
“Whereas a youngster coming in, you don”t know so much.
“But we treat him the same as we have in this series - we have had our game plans and they have worked well in this series. If he is picked again we will be able to do that again.” (ANI)

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