Former players back Katich; why sack only him, asks Warne

June 9th, 2011 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, June 9 (IANS) Spin legend Shane Warne feels that Simon Katich should not have been the only 30-plus cricketer left out from Cricket Australia (CA) central contracts.

Warne stopped short of taking names, but hinted that former captain Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who all are above the age of 30, should have also been treated the same way by CA.

“Katich losing his contract was a bit disappointing because I think he’s been a true performer for a while. But I understand the logic of leaving him out,” Warne was quoted as saying in Triple M radio station.

“The one thing about Cricket Australia I would say, and the current (group): if you’re going to say you’re in transition, I think for the fans and the public and everyone out there who wants to support the Australian cricket team, let’s see some youngsters in there.”

“Don’t hang on to the older guys in there, say ‘we’re in transition, give us a bit of time’, but have 35 or 37-year-olds still playing Test cricket or one-day cricket. Get them in there, to get some experience and say ‘we’re in transition’.”

“Let’s stop sliding down to No. 5 in the world; [if] we keep playing the same players but saying ‘we’re in transition’, it doesn’t work,” he said.

Katich also found support from other former players, who were outraged at CA’s recent move. The chief executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, Paul Marsh said that for Katich to be lost to Australian cricket would be “a bad outcome” for the game.

Former Australian Bob Simpson said he was shocked at Katich’s removal.

“When you are regenerating a team, you are looking for three or four players who are reliable and will do their job and you start with the opening batsmen. If you have two great opening batsmen, you are on your way,” Simpson, who at 41 returned to captain Australia during the World Series crisis in the 1970s, was quoted as saying in The Australian.

“Age shouldn’t be brought into it. In Simon’s case, he has proved himself and been successful since returning.”

Former Test batsman Mark Waugh said Katich still has cricket left in him.

“I know he’s 35, but who’s to say he hasn’t got a good 12 to 24 months left in him? It’s a bit of a shock for sure,” Waugh was quoted as saying.

“There are three guys over 35 in the top six: Mike Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Katich. Obviously, that’s got a lot to do with it and the selectors don’t want three players leaving at the same time.”

Former Australia opener Michael Slater felt age is irrelevant when a player is performing.

“I think he has been appallingly hung … If his replacement (Phil Hughes) came in scoring hundreds and was red hot, then I can understand an injury stopping someone in their mid-30s,” Slater told the local media.

“But that clearly hasn’t happened. The system that is being reviewed at the moment around the country, what are they reviewing? The first thing they should be reviewing is the selectors and the selection process and I’d start with the chairman of selectors.”

Katich, meanwhile, said he would announce his decision on future at the Sydney Cricket Ground Friday.

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