Ponting tells selectors to pick Hayden’s replacement earlyFebruary 4th, 2009 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Feb 4 (IANS) Australian captain Ricky Ponting wants the Australian selectors to make up their minds now on Matthew Hayden’s replacement for the series against South Africa.The Australian squad for the three-Test tour of South Africa will be named Thursday, with youngster Phillip Hughes and Phil Jaques the leading contenders to fill the opening vacancy and partner Simon Katich.
The selectors could pick both Hughes and Jaques in a squad numbering either 14 or 15 players and make the call after the only first-class warm-up game Feb 20-22.
But Ponting would rather the decision was taken now, allowing the other batsman to remain in Australia and play out the remainder of the Sheffield Shield season.
It’s a tough call as both NSW openers have legitimate claims to replace the retired Hayden.
“I don’t reckon (the selectors) will pick two openers (in addition to Simon Katich),” Ponting was quoted as saying in The Australian.
“I think they should make their mind up now and pick whoever they think is going to be the best selection for South Africa and possibly for the Ashes tour as well.
“Phillip (Hughes) has done absolutely everything in his power to give himself the best chance to be picked. His record for New South Wales in the last couple of years has been outstanding.”
Ponting also acknowledged that Jaques had a compelling case to regain his Test berth, having made 902 runs in 11 Tests at an average of 47.47.
“Obviously one thing in Phil’s favour is his Test experience and his Test record behind him,” said Ponting.
“He did nothing wrong in the games he played when he came into the side and he made a hundred in his last game.”