Selectors noncommittal over Hayden’s Test berth

January 9th, 2009 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 9 (IANS) Matthew Hayden’s Test future looks bleaker after Australian selectors refused to guarantee him a place for the tour to South Africa and the next Ashes series.Hayden was axed from the one-day and T20 sides after he failed to convince the selectors of his utility in the side in the just-concluded series against South Africa.

Hayden flew home to Brisbane with wife Kellie and three children for some soul-searching that will determine whether he attempts to make tours of South Africa and England.

There was a distinct change in the tone of selection chairman Andrew Hilditch, who, after the opener’s unconvincing scores of 31 and 39 in Sydney, has retreated from the previous statements that he wanted the 37-year-old at the top of the order for the two important tours.

“I have made it very clear that our advance plans were for Matthew Hayden to go through to the end of the Ashes. That would be our ideal outcome. We have got to sit down as a selection panel and make a decision whether that is still the way we want to go,” Hilditch was quoted as saying in The Age.

Hayden said he intends to represent Queensland in the next Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia from Jan 30, but may choose to walk away on his own terms.

“The flame does burn within and I guess that may be the hardest part to reckon with,” Hayden said.

“It is as simple as playing out the summer, being committed to that, and taking the time and the energy to just get back on the horse or make a decision not to.

“I think it is in my court. I will take that time because I respect the game and I respect this team and if I don’t feel I am contributing to that culture, not just in runs but in terms of being a senior player and a bit of a custodian to the old school of our great game, then I will be knocking on their (the selectors’) doors.

The touring party for South Africa will be chosen after the next round of Shield games, in which the selectors will monitor Phil Jaques’ return from back surgery. It will be the only chance for Jaques and fellow contenders Chris Rogers and Phil Hughes to stake their claims at first-class level.

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