Jaques won't give up on Test spot
Phil Jaques will continue to fight to regain his national spot despite suffering a setback in his recovery from a severe back problem when he was dropped from Australia's contract list on Thursday. Jaques has opened in 11 Tests for the team and scored 108 in his last match 11 months ago, but he was cut from the XI in India and returned home for surgery.
His comeback began towards the end of the season and did not go well, with him requiring a second operation on his back and Phillip Hughes capturing the vacancy created by Matthew Hayden's retirement. "It is obviously very disappointing," he said in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I suppose I have lost my contract because I've had injuries this past year. All I want to do is get back on the park. When I am fit and healthy I will put scores on the board, I know that."
Shaun Tait also missed out due to his battle with his body. A long-term hamstring injury kept him out for much of the season and he was passed by a young group of bowlers including Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
Despite his omission, Tait has been told by Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, that he remains in Australia's plans. "Shaun's been quite clearly told he's very much in the mix for one-day cricket in particular and he'll be closely considered once he's back to full fitness," Hilditch told AAP. "We hope he's going to play cricket for us in the next 12 months but it's still a bit uncertain when he's still not back to full fitness and training, so we'll just monitor that, how he progresses."
Australia have a hectic schedule over the next year and Hilditch said Tait could return via Australia A. "He took it extremely well, probably because he's such a great bloke," Hilditch said. "But underneath all that I'm sure he's hurting, but I'm also sure he'll come back strong."
One player who remains in the group is the 34-year-old Brad Hodge, a regular reserve who has played one Test in three years. "As he'd point out, the last opportunity he got, which was in the West Indies he scored 60-odd runs and played a good role," Hilditch said in the Herald Sun.
"He's one player if he got the chance, we are pretty sure he'd do really well but we've got other young players around the country that would also grab the chance, so it's a tight call." The Ashes squad, which will contain 15 or 16 players, will be named on Wednesday.