Pick Jaques for first Test - Katich
Simon Katich believes Phil Jaques should partner Matthew Hayden in next month's first Test, but the opener insists it is too early for him to be a certain selection. Jaques scored a second-innings 167 in the Pura Cup match against Western Australia this week to out-point his rival Chris Rogers, who made 9 and 17.
Katich, the New South Wales captain, expects his "run machine" to be at the Gabba when Australia play Sri Lanka from November 8. "We're going to find it hard to replace him if he gets picked, but obviously 160-odd thoroughly deserves selection,'' Katich told AAP. "But not only that, what he's done in the last four or five seasons. He's been a run machine, both here and in England, so he thoroughly deserves his chance if he gets it.''
Jaques, who has played two Tests, was more cautious about his prospects and said a promotion was "too early to call". "It's out of my hands," he said. "I put a score on the board in the first couple of games, which I was asked to do, and we'll just see what happens.''
He will have another opportunity to impress when New South Wales host Queensland in the Pura Cup from October 26. Injuries will make Jaques' task slightly easier as Andy Bichel, Shane Watson and Michael Kasprowicz will be absent. "Each of those players is making progress," Ray Phillips, the Queensland selection chairman, said. "We expect them to come under consideration for the tour match against Sri Lanka."
The internationals Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Mitchell Johnson and James Hopes will bolster the Bulls after returning from the one-day series in India. They will replace Aaron Nye, Greg Moller, Chris Swan and Ben Cutting, who played in the first-innings win over Tasmania.
Bichel missed the first round of Queensland fixtures with a shoulder problem and realises the injury could be career-threatening if it does not respond to treatment. "There is no doubt that is the worst-case scenario," Bichel said in the Courier-Mail. "But I am confident I can get back."
He said it could be two weeks before he is bowling again, putting him in danger of missing Queensland's tour game against Sri Lanka starting on November 2. "It is a bit of a setback," he said. "At this stage it is not as good as we would like it."
Martin Love has been chosen in Queensland's 2nd XI squad to travel to Perth as part of his comeback from knee surgery while Watson (hamstring) and Kasprowicz (calf) are expected to be eased through the club system. The Bulls kept the same FR Cup side that lost the opening match to Tasmania for the contest with New South Wales at the SCG on Wednesday. The Blues also did not make any changes to their squad.
Queensland FR Cup squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Ryan Broad, Aaron Nye, Clinton Perren, Craig Philipson, Michael Buchanan, Chris Simpson, Chris Hartley (wk), Ashley Noffke, Nathan Reardon, Scott Brant, Grant Sullivan.
New South Wales FR Cup squad Phil Jaques, Ed Cowan, Simon Katich (capt), Peter Forrest, Dominic Thornely, Stephen O'Keefe, Daniel Smith (wk), Grant Lambert, Nathan Hauritz, Matthew Nicholson, Doug Bollinger, Mark Cameron.
Queensland Pura Cup squad Matthew Hayden, Ryan Broad, Clinton Perren, Jimmy Maher (capt), Andrew Symonds, James Hopes, Chris Hartley (wk), Chris Simpson, Ashley Noffke, Mitchell Johnson, Daniel Doran, Grant Sullivan.