Opener's future in doubt January 12, 2009

Katich wants Hayden to play on

Cricinfo staff

Simon Katich wants his opening partner Matthew Hayden to bat on © AFP

Simon Katich hopes his Test opening partner Matthew Hayden does not walk away from the game in the next few weeks despite his disappointing returns this season. Hayden is on a family holiday this week and will consider his future, but Katich believes he still has plenty to offer at international level.

"In the last Test in Sydney, particularly in that second innings, he seemed like he was his normal self, wanting to intimidate the opposition - and he did," Katich told the Australian. "Unfortunately, he didn't convert that 39 into a bigger score. Had that happened we probably wouldn't be making as much about it."

Hayden managed only 149 runs at 16.55 from five home Tests this season and the selectors will discuss whether to take him on next month's tour of South Africa. However, Katich said it would be difficult for any new player to contribute as much to the top order as Hayden.

"He's a champion, he's played for a long time and has an unbelievable record, so those of us who are now trying to fill the shoes at the top of the order find them big shoes to fill," Katich said. "For me, it's been great opening with him and I look forward to seeing him hopefully continue."

Phil Jaques will come into contention once he has some runs under his belt following his return from back surgery, while his New South Wales team-mate Phillip Hughes is a strong candidate thanks to his productive summer. Katich said it was a good thing there was so much competition for places in the Test side.

"There's plenty of guys putting their hands up for selection," Katich said. "There's always plenty of batsmen around Australia putting their hands up by making big runs so, as a batsman, you just have to keep trying to make good scores."