Pressure on Hayden to end his one-day career

May 30th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 30 (IANS) Injured Test opener Matthew Hayden could face pressure to end his one-day career as Australia reviews its plan to nurse him for the 2009 Ashes series. Hayden’s Test career has stalled with an achilles tendon injury that will force him home from the tour of the West Indies and has left his playing future in limbo.

Scans have revealed the possibility of major tendon damage and it is possible Hayden could need surgery.

But the 36-year-old will not have a clear diagnosis until he sees specialists in Melbourne on his return to Australia.

The loss of Hayden is a big blow for the Caribbean campaign but an even bigger worry for the opener, considering he will have missed four of Australia’s past five Tests with tendon injuries.

Medical staff fear the recurring tendon injuries - including the hamstring tendinitis that flared last summer and caused him to miss the Perth Test - may be genetic.

Australia hopes to have Hayden fit for the Champions Trophy one-day tournament in Pakistan in September, but he will have to review his one-day plans.

Hayden is desperate to cap his glittering Test career with another Ashes win in 2009 and selection chief Andrew Hilditch has gone on record to say he wants Hayden to play in England next year.

But Australia has a busy schedule in the next 18 months and Hayden could be best placed to give away the one-day game to ensure he is in the best possible shape for the Ashes series.

Australia has one-dayers against Bangladesh, the Champions Trophy, a Test series in India, a home summer against New Zealand and South Africa, Test series in South Africa and Pakistan and the Twenty20 World Cup before the Ashes series.

Hayden’s first challenge, though, will be shaking off a right achilles problem that has proved far more troublesome than first thought when it became apparent during his Indian Premier League stint last month.

“He’s been here two weeks now and he’s no better now than when he got here,” skipper Ricky Ponting said Thursday in Kingston, Jamaica.

“It’s just not going anywhere, so we just want him to get home and assess him… and get him back on a strengthening programme to get him right for the Champions Trophy.

“Selectors are really aware of what we have to do to get these guys through the next 12-18 months, so we’ll do whatever is appropriate. If guys need time off to get some rehab, then they’ll have it. Definitely the next 12 months poses more challenges than we’ve ever had,” the Australian captain added.

Before last summer Hayden had played 86 Tests in succession, the seventh-longest streak in history, but there are concerns the wear and tear of 15 years of international cricket is catching up with him.

The sight of Hayden hobbling and not taking part in training for the second Test provided a sure sign that he would be sent home.

“With the large volume of cricket to be played over the next 18 months, it was decided he should return to Australia,” team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said.

Simon Katich will retain his spot as opener for the second Test, which starts Friday night in St John’s, Antigua, with Michael Clarke to replace Brad Hodge, who will remain with the squad.

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