But Tait is tempting December 18, 2007

Waugh cries for Hogg on Boxing Day

Cricinfo staff

Steve Waugh says if Brad Hogg is not picked now he might never get a chance © Getty Images

Steve Waugh has backed the traditional line-up of three fast bowlers and a spinner for the Boxing Day Test against India. Despite a surge in popularity for Shaun Tait over the past two weeks, Waugh believes Brad Hogg should take the spot left by Stuart MacGill when he had surgery on his wrist.

"It's probably 50-50 right now, but Hogg deserves a chance," Waugh told the Daily Telegraph. "He has never let Australia down. He has proven one of our best one-day players in the last four years."

Hogg has appeared in only four Tests, the last coming in 2003, while Tait was called twice on the 2005 Ashes tour. Waugh said if Hogg was not chosen now he might never come back.

"Tait is probably ready to go and there would be a temptation to play him," he said. "Hogg deserves a chance. If you don't give him a chance now, he will probably never get a chance. If it doesn't work, you can always make a change for the second and third Tests.''

Tait's limited-overs speed against New Zealand has been fierce and he has proved his right elbow has recovered from surgery. However, Waugh would prefer Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson in the side if three fast men were picked.

Waugh said India were more comfortable against spin than pace. "If they can get stuck into their top order with some short stuff and be very aggressive, it's a bit of an ageing batting line-up, too," he said. "There are a few question marks over India although on the other side is that they have a lot of experience."

India start their tour with a three-day game against Victoria at the Junction Oval on Thursday and Ian Healy felt they had arrived too late to adjust to the conditions. "Another fortnight might have been perfect," he told the paper.

"They are coming off some hard cricket of late, but hard cricket in totally opposite conditions. That's not good. I just think they are going to have to cram too much, too quickly at a time when they really need to be spot-on for Melbourne and Sydney because Perth could be dangerous for them.''