'Jaques is belting on the door' November 15, 2006

Border and Taylor undecided on new blood

Cricinfo staff

The selectors have a dilemma on their hands, according to Allan Border and Mark Taylor, who are pictured with Steve Waugh and The Ashes © Getty Images

Allan Border and Mark Taylor have weighed into the debate on whether Australia's team is too old, but neither seemed confident of the answer. When Australia's side for the first Test is announced on Thursday it is likely to include at least six players aged 35 or over and potentially as few as one under 30.

Taylor said the recent form of Phil Jaques, who has scored two centuries against England in the last week, meant selectors had a tough call ahead of them. "He's belting on the door, that's what Jaques is doing," Taylor told AAP. "Whether he's done enough to knock it over and get in I don't know and I'm not going to put the pressure on the selectors by saying what I think should happen, but he is really belting on the door. You can argue either way about that.

"Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden have been an outstanding combination for five years now, since they got together in the Oval Test match in 2001, so they will say - probably rightly say - they deserve another crack at it. But it's very difficult when Phil Jaques is belting down the door."

Border, who was a selector until last month, said the decision on when to give Jaques, 27, and other younger players their long-term opportunities was not easy. "It's always a difficult one, to know when to ease someone out and introduce someone new," Border said in The Age. "If the side's going well you're going to go with the incumbent player generally because if he's doing his job, there's no reason to change.

"Obviously over the next couple of years they've got some challenges in front of them because this great side we've had together for the best part of ten years is slowly but surely going to break apart and new players need to be introduced."

However, John Buchanan said the England coach Duncan Fletcher appeared to be abandoning several incumbent players, a move Buchanan believed could give Australia the edge. "They're either looking to play games on another level, or they're trying to get their first XI settled early in the piece," he said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "But it could go the other way and make it a difficult time for a couple of the players who viewed themselves as incumbents and have now been jettisoned." Buchanan said Australia's team for the first Test was likely to be "pretty predictable".