January 12, 2009

Who after Hayden?

A look at the players in the reckoning to fill the impending vacancy at the top of Australia's order
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Matthew Hayden will not be the only opening batsman desperate for the first week of February and the naming of the Test squad for South Africa. Until recently Hayden had the complete faith of the selectors, who wanted him to stay on for the Ashes, but their stance shifted slightly after the Sydney Test. Hayden's second-innings 39 was his top score of the home summer and the likelihood of his career ending on 103 Tests increased when he was cut from the Twenty20 and one-day sides. So who will partner Simon Katich in South Africa? A look at the contenders.


Back in the frame: Jaques has returned after surgery, and if fit, will be up there in the reckoning © Getty Images
 

Phil Jaques

Age 29, Tests 11
First-class hundreds 35
First-class runs in 2008-09 0

Why should he replace Hayden?
A first-choice player until the India series, when he succumbed to a long-term back injury, Jaques has a hundred in his most recent Test. In nine matches since replacing Justin Langer he has 806 runs at 50.37, but the most exciting thing for him is what happens next. After having surgery he can drive through cover without feeling pain. A solid, sensible and reliable replacement who is young enough for a long career.

Why not?
He hasn't played since he left the India tour with a bulging disc, and his first opportunity to erase the doubts over form and fitness will not come until a Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales on January 30, a week before the South Africa squad is released. With other contenders lining up, Jaques has been forgotten by those looking solely at the run lists.

Hayden-esque quality
Passionate about opening for Australia and knows the team culture.

Chances Will be first-choice if fit.

Phillip Hughes

Age 20, Tests 0
First-class hundreds 4
First-class runs in 2008-09 730 @ 56.15

Why should he replace Hayden?
By picking Hughes the selectors could change the entire outlook of the side. Seventeen years younger than Hayden, Hughes, an attractive left-hander, would make the team fresh, exciting and one for the future. In his second season with New South Wales, he didn't suffer the expected slump and his double of 93 and 108 in a Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania represented 58% of the team total.

Why not?
A conservative panel will see his age instead of potential. While the selectors recognise Hughes' supreme talent, they might be uneasy at relying on someone so raw in A-list series against South Africa and England, especially with more qualified options available.

Hayden-esque quality
Able to sway the local faithful. In New South Wales this summer he is more popular than ice cream.

Chances More likely for the Ashes tour.

Chris Rogers

Age 31, Tests 1
First-class hundreds 31
First-class runs in 2008-09 661 @ 82.62


Rogers: an old-style opener who can do the job on all kinds of pitches © Getty Images
 

Why should he replace Hayden?
He did last time, scoring 4 and 15 against India in Perth. Since then he has swapped states from Western Australia to Victoria and continued with the heavy contributions that earned him a national contract in 2007. An old-style opener, he builds rather than demolishes, and boasts runs on all types of surfaces.

Why not?
He was forgotten as soon as he arrived in the Test team, losing his contract four months after his debut, mainly because the selectors were sure Hayden would make it to the Ashes. Can't shake whispers he is not as committed off the field, with his exit from Western Australia used as an example. Might be one of those players who is just plain unlucky.

Hayden-esque quality
Likes big runs and tough runs.

Chances Will go if Jaques doesn't.

Shaun Marsh

Age 25, Tests 0
First-class hundreds 4
First-class runs in 2008-09 167 @ 23.85

Why should he replace Hayden?
Marsh covered for Jaques when he was injured in India, an appointment more for getting him experience around the team than because he was next in line. An explosive batsman in the limited-overs games, he could jump into the Test arena via his performances in coloured clothes. In eight ODIs against West Indies and Bangladesh he has been assured, but life will probably be different against South Africa or England.

Why not?
Like Michael Klinger, he has spent most of his time in first-class games not doing much of significance. During eight seasons with Western Australia he has only four Sheffield Shield centuries and an average of 34.01. His best score since coming back from India is an unbeaten 74, and he struggled for impact in four domestic games of his preferred Twenty20. At 25, he has time, and the selectors, on his side.

Hayden-esque quality
Not afraid to thrash the new ball.

Chances Not as good as three months ago.

Michael Klinger

Age 28, Tests 0
First-class hundreds 6
First-class runs in 2008-09 906 @ 90.60

Why should he replace Hayden?
After moving to South Australia in the off-season, he has dominated the competition like Hayden once did. Four hundreds have come in six Sheffield Shield games, including 255 against Western Australia, and he has another 366 runs in the FR Cup. Klinger is in incredible form but seems embarrassed when pushed on his chances of national selection.

Why not?
He spent too much time - almost 10 years - as a fringe state player at Victoria and needs to prove himself for more than a season at his new home. While he opens in the one-day team, he enters at No. 3 in the Sheffield Shield, which makes him a riskier proposition when compared to the specialists.

Hayden-esque quality
Not giving up when ignored by the selectors.


Hodge represents experience, but picking him may also seem a backward step © Gett Images
 

Chances Highly unlikely.

Brad Hodge

Age 34, Tests 6
First-class hundreds 49
First-class runs in 2008-09 245 @ 35.00

Why should he replace Hayden?
If Australia want an experienced batsman for such crucial encounters, then Hodge will come into contention. The last time the Test team went to South Africa the selectors pushed for Damien Martyn - Hodge was the one cut - for his cool head and consistent output. Three years later Hodge might be the fortunate one.

Why not?
Hodge represents a look back rather than a step forward, and like Klinger he is a No. 3. Despite an early hundred, his first-class season has been quiet, although he has been much more successful in the limited-overs formats. He substituted in the West Indies with 67 and 27 in Jamaica, but needs a few breaks to add a seventh Test.

Hayden-esque quality
Unbending confidence in his ability.

Chances The outsider. Could go as a squad batsman and get lucky.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • drsuso on January 14, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    I think Langer was better opener than Hayden. If Australia can find a replacement for Langer, then they can easily find the replacement for Hayden. My choice is Shaun Marsh or Philip Hughes. They are exciting cricketers. Aussie selectors must not ruin their careers as they did in case of Hussey or Gilchrist( to some extent).

  • Dashgar on January 14, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    You have to pick players on form. Australia has been caught out of late by playing players who are completely out of form purely to keep the same side on the field. The fact that Hayden and Hussey were able to play the entire summer while averaging under 20 is ludicrous when we've got guys averaging in the 80s and 90s in first class cricket. The fact that McKenzie was nearly dropped before Hayden was shows how stubborn the Australian selectors are. Rogers should be picked for the SA tour and if not him then Hughes or Klinger. None of the other batsmen suggested are in form in the first class arena. Final word, Mike Hussey needs runs on this tour or he shouldn't go to the ashes. We can't simply assume that because someone has made runs in the past that they will be able to magically come back into form, or that a player averaging over 80 in first class cricket, like Klinger or Rogers, is a risk at test level.

  • SpottedHyena on January 13, 2009, 23:27 GMT

    Nobody over 30 - especially not Hodge - no problem with him but at 34 it will just be two seasons (3 if lucky) and he'll retire too. Australia must break the trend of people retiring, otherwise it will continue to haunt them for many years to come. There's only a year or two before the next batch (Ponting, Symonds, Clark etc.) starts going...

  • slamin6z on January 13, 2009, 22:52 GMT

    i think that austrailia need to take Jacques aswell as hughs. Jacques can be the no 1 opener along with katch and hughes can learn the ins-and-outs of test cricket while he is on the tour. Hughs will be the next Matthew Hayden being only 20, he can be there for 10-15 years. If aussie are winny the series and cannot lose int, then they can debut Hughes and if they are losing and cannot win they can debut hughes.

  • DamieninFrance on January 13, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    As is the preferred method in Australia, you have to be consistent and in the line to be selected. Jaques deserves his chance, as he was incumbent until very unlucky to be knocked off by another (who had also been dreadfully unlucky not to have been selected earlier). I'm a big supporter for Hughes, but if he is THAT good, he'll get his chance later. Secondly, I have to respond to the rubbish about players being born into privilege. What sort of weird logic is that? Do you really believe that Hayden, Warne and Mc Grath would have been anywhere near their degree of talent without following ridiculously taxing training routines? Hayden practised and practised so much, he became the great player he is. His story about being rejected by Rod Marsh because he wasn't perceived to be start quality is legendary. Warne studied the game so well, that he is regarded by some as having the best cricket brain in history. To think that you can just be born that good, without training- what crap!

  • cric8111 on January 13, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    Brad Hodge recently allowed his mouth to go where no mouth has gone before.

    "Maybe I'll play for Australia in lawn bowls in the future, maybe tennis, maybe rowing, I'm not sure yet," he said.

    "(I'm) not sure about cricket. I hope not but maybe if this sport doesn't work I'll try another one."

    How about PR-101 at an Australian University?

    I hardly fancy his chances 50 plus average or not.

    Marsh is a 20twenty player not suited to the longer version.

    Some of the others are strangers and rookies.

    Jaques looks the best bet if his back holds up.

    Funny thing is Hayden's failures were not worse than Dravid's, yet they shoved him aside with two big tours coming up.

  • stuartk319 on January 13, 2009, 10:58 GMT

    Jaques will step in if fit enough - Hughes needs to be in the squad so that he is ready for his chance when it comes, be it against SAf, in the Ashes, or in 2-3yrs time.

    I must point out a few things to TACS.

    Warne and McGrath, although maybe born great, had very high bowling averages in their first years. Hayden struggled early on as well. Any player needs a few games to establish themselves. Also, while SAf are number 1 now IMO, I think that India are at 3 behind Aus, as they still aren't nearly as effective outside the subcontinent. Finally, WIndies decline was more to do with gifted young sportsmen leaving for other sports that offer much more money in the nearby USA. It is wildly speculative to suggest that Australia, with its well paid and coached cricketers, will suffer such a dramatic decline.

    I look forward to seeing SAf, India and Australia go hammer and tongs in good close test matches over the next 3-5 years.

  • Calexico on January 13, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    @TACS

    "The then WI team dominated cricket world much strongly than this Australian team did."

    Really? By what criteria? And just remind me, which team won 16 tests in a row twice?

  • peeeeet on January 13, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    In reply to Zordrac, Hussey's first attempt at opening was when he failed twice at the Gabba, then came his hundred at Hobart. He also stood in for Langer in SA. Anyway, I agree that he should probably open as thats what he does in first class games, however I think the selectors like his experience in the middle order. Jaques must be first picked, as he was there when Hayden was injured and deserves a few tests to prove himself. Then Hughes. Talk of Warner being a Test opener for now is rubbish, he needs a few games for NSW first to show that he can actually do it. And no allrounder. Clarke and Katich can bowl overs, bring someone like Dave Hussey who has an awesome record and can bowl a bit too. We've been able to get by in the past before Gilly without an allrounder, why should it change now? My Aussie team would read Jaques Katich Ponting M Hussey Clarke D Hussey Haddin Siddle Hilfenhous Bracken Clark. No spinner, 3 part timers in SA and England is all you need.

  • optemizer on January 13, 2009, 3:41 GMT

    M Hussey to open hughes in middle order for experience and jaques to rejoin team once he has had some match pratice at first class level.

  • drsuso on January 14, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    I think Langer was better opener than Hayden. If Australia can find a replacement for Langer, then they can easily find the replacement for Hayden. My choice is Shaun Marsh or Philip Hughes. They are exciting cricketers. Aussie selectors must not ruin their careers as they did in case of Hussey or Gilchrist( to some extent).

  • Dashgar on January 14, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    You have to pick players on form. Australia has been caught out of late by playing players who are completely out of form purely to keep the same side on the field. The fact that Hayden and Hussey were able to play the entire summer while averaging under 20 is ludicrous when we've got guys averaging in the 80s and 90s in first class cricket. The fact that McKenzie was nearly dropped before Hayden was shows how stubborn the Australian selectors are. Rogers should be picked for the SA tour and if not him then Hughes or Klinger. None of the other batsmen suggested are in form in the first class arena. Final word, Mike Hussey needs runs on this tour or he shouldn't go to the ashes. We can't simply assume that because someone has made runs in the past that they will be able to magically come back into form, or that a player averaging over 80 in first class cricket, like Klinger or Rogers, is a risk at test level.

  • SpottedHyena on January 13, 2009, 23:27 GMT

    Nobody over 30 - especially not Hodge - no problem with him but at 34 it will just be two seasons (3 if lucky) and he'll retire too. Australia must break the trend of people retiring, otherwise it will continue to haunt them for many years to come. There's only a year or two before the next batch (Ponting, Symonds, Clark etc.) starts going...

  • slamin6z on January 13, 2009, 22:52 GMT

    i think that austrailia need to take Jacques aswell as hughs. Jacques can be the no 1 opener along with katch and hughes can learn the ins-and-outs of test cricket while he is on the tour. Hughs will be the next Matthew Hayden being only 20, he can be there for 10-15 years. If aussie are winny the series and cannot lose int, then they can debut Hughes and if they are losing and cannot win they can debut hughes.

  • DamieninFrance on January 13, 2009, 16:58 GMT

    As is the preferred method in Australia, you have to be consistent and in the line to be selected. Jaques deserves his chance, as he was incumbent until very unlucky to be knocked off by another (who had also been dreadfully unlucky not to have been selected earlier). I'm a big supporter for Hughes, but if he is THAT good, he'll get his chance later. Secondly, I have to respond to the rubbish about players being born into privilege. What sort of weird logic is that? Do you really believe that Hayden, Warne and Mc Grath would have been anywhere near their degree of talent without following ridiculously taxing training routines? Hayden practised and practised so much, he became the great player he is. His story about being rejected by Rod Marsh because he wasn't perceived to be start quality is legendary. Warne studied the game so well, that he is regarded by some as having the best cricket brain in history. To think that you can just be born that good, without training- what crap!

  • cric8111 on January 13, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    Brad Hodge recently allowed his mouth to go where no mouth has gone before.

    "Maybe I'll play for Australia in lawn bowls in the future, maybe tennis, maybe rowing, I'm not sure yet," he said.

    "(I'm) not sure about cricket. I hope not but maybe if this sport doesn't work I'll try another one."

    How about PR-101 at an Australian University?

    I hardly fancy his chances 50 plus average or not.

    Marsh is a 20twenty player not suited to the longer version.

    Some of the others are strangers and rookies.

    Jaques looks the best bet if his back holds up.

    Funny thing is Hayden's failures were not worse than Dravid's, yet they shoved him aside with two big tours coming up.

  • stuartk319 on January 13, 2009, 10:58 GMT

    Jaques will step in if fit enough - Hughes needs to be in the squad so that he is ready for his chance when it comes, be it against SAf, in the Ashes, or in 2-3yrs time.

    I must point out a few things to TACS.

    Warne and McGrath, although maybe born great, had very high bowling averages in their first years. Hayden struggled early on as well. Any player needs a few games to establish themselves. Also, while SAf are number 1 now IMO, I think that India are at 3 behind Aus, as they still aren't nearly as effective outside the subcontinent. Finally, WIndies decline was more to do with gifted young sportsmen leaving for other sports that offer much more money in the nearby USA. It is wildly speculative to suggest that Australia, with its well paid and coached cricketers, will suffer such a dramatic decline.

    I look forward to seeing SAf, India and Australia go hammer and tongs in good close test matches over the next 3-5 years.

  • Calexico on January 13, 2009, 4:22 GMT

    @TACS

    "The then WI team dominated cricket world much strongly than this Australian team did."

    Really? By what criteria? And just remind me, which team won 16 tests in a row twice?

  • peeeeet on January 13, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    In reply to Zordrac, Hussey's first attempt at opening was when he failed twice at the Gabba, then came his hundred at Hobart. He also stood in for Langer in SA. Anyway, I agree that he should probably open as thats what he does in first class games, however I think the selectors like his experience in the middle order. Jaques must be first picked, as he was there when Hayden was injured and deserves a few tests to prove himself. Then Hughes. Talk of Warner being a Test opener for now is rubbish, he needs a few games for NSW first to show that he can actually do it. And no allrounder. Clarke and Katich can bowl overs, bring someone like Dave Hussey who has an awesome record and can bowl a bit too. We've been able to get by in the past before Gilly without an allrounder, why should it change now? My Aussie team would read Jaques Katich Ponting M Hussey Clarke D Hussey Haddin Siddle Hilfenhous Bracken Clark. No spinner, 3 part timers in SA and England is all you need.

  • optemizer on January 13, 2009, 3:41 GMT

    M Hussey to open hughes in middle order for experience and jaques to rejoin team once he has had some match pratice at first class level.

  • anmn on January 13, 2009, 3:38 GMT

    Why do we assume he retired? I am quite sure he was politely "let go" "on his own terms". But, this would be a milestone to point to the ascendency of India and SA. ie. Him getting fired...

  • Micgyver on January 13, 2009, 1:22 GMT

    If Phil Jacques is fully fit and making runs,he should be a definite choice for Sth Africa.He's proven himself before and he's still young enough to be part of the Aussies plans for the next 5/6 years at least.Phillip Hughes should be the next in line,he's young,confident,talented and there wouldnt be a better test for him then a Sth African tour.Many young players of the past decade have come and gone,mainly due to the fact it was so hard to get a crack in the great aussie teams of the past decade...times have changed...lets not let this 1 slip.

  • TACS on January 13, 2009, 1:19 GMT

    Aussies days are all but over. Most of aussies and their supporters (if any) are talking about player A replacing Warne, Player B replacing McGrath, Player C replacing Hayden. Such cricket players are not made but born. This whole world knows. They had a fantastic team to beat the world teams for a longer time. Now the pendulum is shifting towards India and South Africa. In the coming days, both these two teams will lock their horns for top spots, let it be ODI, Test or T20.

    When WI was unbeatable and player by player retired everyone was talking like this only. No need to explain what happened then and where they are now. The then WI team dominated cricket world much strongly than this Australian team did. All the beginnings have an End and Everything starts with an End. This is the truth of life. If that is not there then you can not find a poor becoming millionaire/billionaire and vice versa. It is tough for Aussies to taste the truth of life but they will be forced to do so soon.

  • Kooja on January 13, 2009, 1:02 GMT

    I think the choices are obvious. Phil Hughes and that wunderkid of the 20/20 clash the other day, Warner. If both are picked and they form a nice pair like Langer and Haydos, it will augur well for the Ozs. Why is this not a straightforward decision ?

    The advantage of youth is time. Other international sports routinely produce champs at age 15 through whatever, so what is the big deal about cricket ? Throw some decent talent at the wolves and see who remains standing. At least one or two will surface and those are the men the team is looking for. As for Haydos, it might have been premature but possibly the right decision. He is not getting younger and father time consumed him, as it will, eventually.

    dr J

  • Mitcher on January 13, 2009, 0:45 GMT

    My heart says Hughes as the side is crying out for youth but its hard to disagree that the spot was Jaques' before he got injured and he had made plenty of runs so I guess he deserves the chance.

    There's plenty of time for Hughes to keep proving himself at State level and his chance will come.

    As for people using 20/20 as any type of form guide for Tests, give me strength. David Warner hasn't even earned a four day spot for NSW so that's absurd. Same goes with Marsh. IPL doesn't get you a baggy green.

  • Hodge008 on January 13, 2009, 0:28 GMT

    I can't believe people are seriously saying Warner is a prospect. He hasn't played A SINGLE FIRST-CLASS GAME. You don't play Tests off a base like that. It has to be Jaques then Rogers, if Hayden retires today. Hughes needs to do a bit more, Marsh has no chance while Klinger and Hodge should be playing middle-order. Hodge absolutely should be playing Test cricket and he was ridiculously unlucky to be dropped. Get this though - he was dropped for Martyn, who retired for Symonds. So before Symonds there was no allrounder at 6, but now that is supposedly a requirement and Hodge is locked out.

  • Ozcricketwriter on January 12, 2009, 22:46 GMT

    I have said it before and I will say it again. Michael Hussey should be opening in test cricket. He is a regular opener and that is his preferred position. He also scored a century opening in the only test match where he opened. This will then free up the middle order for David Hussey or perhaps Brad Hodge, preferably David Hussey. Of the candidates listed (none of whom competes with Michael Hussey, it should be noted), Phil Jaques is the obvious choice. Jaques hasn't exactly done badly in his test/one day career to date, and was not so long ago touted as the next big thing. He should be given more of a shot.

  • Nampally on January 12, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Australia is badly in need of young blood to replace an ageing team. Hayden is well past his best and must retire from the Test cricket. An opening batsman needs to have sharp reflexes to face & react to a ball travelling at over 140 to 150 KM/Hr.Australia's best bet is to go with youngsters like David Warner who led the Aussies to a 20/20 win in the first match against S.Africa. He batted with authority hitting 4's & 6's. He was facing Steyn and Ntini, easily the most dominant pace attack in the world today. At 22 he is the most talented Aussie deserving a chance in the ODIs and Test cricket.Phil Hughes is the only other opener younger than him at 20 years. These two should really form the nucleaus of the future Aussie batting. We will soon be seeing Ponting, Symmonds and Hussey in the same age group as Hayden. Hence Australia should be looking at younger players in early 20s to guarantee a future team and cricket dominance.

  • Gilliana on January 12, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    Phil Hughes is the man. I have seen this kid play locally and at state level. He is brimming with confidence, has the technique and temperament. His greatest asset is his youth and Australia will have a long time opener. Phil was coached by that same Indian guy that coached Clarke who is Australia's best batsman today. Go for the kid. Go for Phil Highes.

  • Adib_Ishaque on January 12, 2009, 11:54 GMT

    Australia should give some chances to the young players. I would go for Phillip Hughes

  • Mooses on January 12, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    People don't seem to have learned the lessons of this season yet. Hayden, Lee, Symonds and S Clark have all played and failed in the last 3 series due to lack of preparation, illness or injury - often more than one of these. Taking an under-prepared Jaques to SA sets him up for disaster. Give him a few more games at home to prepare for the Ashes tour - much better than the grind or a tour straight up. While Hughes looks quite a player, you need to reward players for sustained excellence - Rogers is the one. I'm a huge Hodge fan - he should have been kept in the team when on the top of his form - but this year's figures don't warrant a test spot. 20/20 and One Day form is another story. Don't get me started ... Sean Marsh out, Hodge in.

  • cooldewd on January 12, 2009, 10:37 GMT

    Jacques is a class act. He must come straight back in. Send Hughes on the SA tour and blood him at Number 6 and shift him up the order when Katich gives it away.

  • robheinen on January 12, 2009, 9:59 GMT

    Australia need to rebuild anyway. Or rather the team needs to be refurbished. This will probably mean that there will be some series losses to come yet. Within that frame is say take Hughes. He's the youngest. For competition's sake also hand a contract to Warner. Don't go pussyfooting with him. Give him complete confidence and try to mold him in to a batsman able to open in ANY form of the game. If he's able to play test cricket he will demolish any opposition attack and all the records that come with the game in the process.

  • CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on January 12, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    Phil Jaques obviously... He's the best man for the job at this moment.. he has done well enough in the international arena.. he should b given the chance

  • rohanbala on January 12, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    I only wish Hayden is picked for the forthcoming South Africa tour and if he fails to score enough runs, he could be replaced by Phillip Hughes or Phil Jaques. The other two prospects - Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh could be given chances for the one day matches.

  • dananiki on January 12, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    It should be Jaques if fit..but otherwise Hughes and Rogers to tour with Katich. All three to go ... this will cover for injuries and form. It should not be an issue to send three openers, along with the middle order of Ponting, M Hussey Clarke and another. With allrounders like McDonald and Watson, Haddin and then the bowlers, it covers all possible circumstances. That way we have the experience of Rogers and the youth and potential of Hughes.

  • sdjones83 on January 12, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    I agree, Hayden shouldn't tour SA, he no longer seems to have the patience to resist the sucker ball wide outside off stump and has become an easy wicket. I also agree that the selectors probably won't drop him. If Jacques is fit, healthy, and able to show some form before the side is picked he should be number one. If not then Rogers deserves a second chance, I think the selectors would like his age and experience (same for the ashes). I would love to see Hughes go as a backup batsman, he could slot in down the order, or open if Katich batted lower. This also would fit with the habit of "blooding" talented young players by exposing them to the Australian team environment on tours (eg Marsh in India).

  • FatBoysCanBat on January 12, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    It has to be rogers with his average of 80 this season. Hodge and Klinger should not even be mentioned as they do not even open. As for Marsh, his career is a joke. Hayden is now a liability to this side rather than the asset which he used to be. I'm not sold on Hughes yet...yet. Also, Jaques will need more than one match to prove his form and fitness.

  • riteshjsr on January 12, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    Jacques seems to be the logical choice. He's had international experience and has done well as his average of 50.37 suggests. Moreover, Katich and Jacques have played a lot of cricket together for NSW - which means they would understand each other's game really well. However, having said that, I must also share that I'm a huge fan of Shaun Marsh. I watched him in action in the IPL and I thought he's one of the most talented and natural strokemakers in the world. So, I feel Marsh should be on standby as an injury cover. Hayden's time is up. I understand his value to the Aus team as an intimidation tool against the opposition, but he's been far from his belligerent best in the recent past. It's time Aus looked forward and selected a younger opener. Aus has no dearth of talent, especially in the batting department. It's the bowling, and spin bowling in particular where the shelf looks bare. Can they get Warne as coach?

  • indiaflying on January 12, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    Nice article but after watching the T20 yesterday i think you should add David Warner to the list ... I felt as if it was old gilly batting yesterday!

  • Josh88 on January 12, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    I seriously hope that the selectors do not pick Hayden. He has had enough chances... unfortunately he is finished and will never be back to his old form.

    I would love it if they picked Hughes, simply because I cant remember such a young cricketer playing for Australia. I dont think that he should be considered too 'raw' he has hit all those runs against quality Sheffield Sheild against quality bowlers I think he would be able to do it at international level as well.

  • redneck on January 12, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    jaques has to be given first crack if hes fit, hes proven himself already. however there is merit in selecting a form player in the domestic comp eg hughes or klinger. this has rarely been done by australian selectors over the last decade as the team had very few changes due to their overwhelming success and when a change was made there was usually a pecking order of who comes into the team. now that the teams rebuilding and not as consistent picking the form player to come into the side makes sense. however hayden has done plenty for the side and must be given a chance to keep his spot, whether or not that chance has been given already we'll know when the squad for south africa is announced???

  • Revnq on January 12, 2009, 4:25 GMT

    Phil Jaques is the man for the job - whilst lacking match practice, with Katich probably retiring in the next few years we need a guy with some credible Test experience. 11 Tests might not sound like much but it's a hell of a lot more than none. Rogers, Hodge, and Klinger shouldn't even be considered.

    Hughes needs to be brought into the setup as cover for players (Marsh I'm not sold on as a Test opener, perhaps ever) with injury so he can get a taste of the action. If we're playing a weaker opposition, slot him in somewhere, even if it's not at the top of the order. By letting him know where he stands and what the future holds (rather than chopping and changing and leaving guys disillusioned like Casson) he'll be better for it.

  • Brendanvio on January 12, 2009, 3:43 GMT

    It has to be Hughes.

    This is a time the Australian panel needs to be brave and make the tough choices, and one of them is replacing Hayden with the younger and just as talented Hughes. Hayden has looked, in his last few innings, like attempting to slog his way into form instead of grinding it out, and that just proves to me his head just isn't in the right place for top level cricket any more

    As much respect I have for him as a cricketer, he is doing damage to his reputation and preventing Australia from moving onto the next generation of cricketers.

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  • Brendanvio on January 12, 2009, 3:43 GMT

    It has to be Hughes.

    This is a time the Australian panel needs to be brave and make the tough choices, and one of them is replacing Hayden with the younger and just as talented Hughes. Hayden has looked, in his last few innings, like attempting to slog his way into form instead of grinding it out, and that just proves to me his head just isn't in the right place for top level cricket any more

    As much respect I have for him as a cricketer, he is doing damage to his reputation and preventing Australia from moving onto the next generation of cricketers.

  • Revnq on January 12, 2009, 4:25 GMT

    Phil Jaques is the man for the job - whilst lacking match practice, with Katich probably retiring in the next few years we need a guy with some credible Test experience. 11 Tests might not sound like much but it's a hell of a lot more than none. Rogers, Hodge, and Klinger shouldn't even be considered.

    Hughes needs to be brought into the setup as cover for players (Marsh I'm not sold on as a Test opener, perhaps ever) with injury so he can get a taste of the action. If we're playing a weaker opposition, slot him in somewhere, even if it's not at the top of the order. By letting him know where he stands and what the future holds (rather than chopping and changing and leaving guys disillusioned like Casson) he'll be better for it.

  • redneck on January 12, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    jaques has to be given first crack if hes fit, hes proven himself already. however there is merit in selecting a form player in the domestic comp eg hughes or klinger. this has rarely been done by australian selectors over the last decade as the team had very few changes due to their overwhelming success and when a change was made there was usually a pecking order of who comes into the team. now that the teams rebuilding and not as consistent picking the form player to come into the side makes sense. however hayden has done plenty for the side and must be given a chance to keep his spot, whether or not that chance has been given already we'll know when the squad for south africa is announced???

  • Josh88 on January 12, 2009, 4:30 GMT

    I seriously hope that the selectors do not pick Hayden. He has had enough chances... unfortunately he is finished and will never be back to his old form.

    I would love it if they picked Hughes, simply because I cant remember such a young cricketer playing for Australia. I dont think that he should be considered too 'raw' he has hit all those runs against quality Sheffield Sheild against quality bowlers I think he would be able to do it at international level as well.

  • indiaflying on January 12, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    Nice article but after watching the T20 yesterday i think you should add David Warner to the list ... I felt as if it was old gilly batting yesterday!

  • riteshjsr on January 12, 2009, 6:37 GMT

    Jacques seems to be the logical choice. He's had international experience and has done well as his average of 50.37 suggests. Moreover, Katich and Jacques have played a lot of cricket together for NSW - which means they would understand each other's game really well. However, having said that, I must also share that I'm a huge fan of Shaun Marsh. I watched him in action in the IPL and I thought he's one of the most talented and natural strokemakers in the world. So, I feel Marsh should be on standby as an injury cover. Hayden's time is up. I understand his value to the Aus team as an intimidation tool against the opposition, but he's been far from his belligerent best in the recent past. It's time Aus looked forward and selected a younger opener. Aus has no dearth of talent, especially in the batting department. It's the bowling, and spin bowling in particular where the shelf looks bare. Can they get Warne as coach?

  • FatBoysCanBat on January 12, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    It has to be rogers with his average of 80 this season. Hodge and Klinger should not even be mentioned as they do not even open. As for Marsh, his career is a joke. Hayden is now a liability to this side rather than the asset which he used to be. I'm not sold on Hughes yet...yet. Also, Jaques will need more than one match to prove his form and fitness.

  • sdjones83 on January 12, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    I agree, Hayden shouldn't tour SA, he no longer seems to have the patience to resist the sucker ball wide outside off stump and has become an easy wicket. I also agree that the selectors probably won't drop him. If Jacques is fit, healthy, and able to show some form before the side is picked he should be number one. If not then Rogers deserves a second chance, I think the selectors would like his age and experience (same for the ashes). I would love to see Hughes go as a backup batsman, he could slot in down the order, or open if Katich batted lower. This also would fit with the habit of "blooding" talented young players by exposing them to the Australian team environment on tours (eg Marsh in India).

  • dananiki on January 12, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    It should be Jaques if fit..but otherwise Hughes and Rogers to tour with Katich. All three to go ... this will cover for injuries and form. It should not be an issue to send three openers, along with the middle order of Ponting, M Hussey Clarke and another. With allrounders like McDonald and Watson, Haddin and then the bowlers, it covers all possible circumstances. That way we have the experience of Rogers and the youth and potential of Hughes.

  • rohanbala on January 12, 2009, 8:41 GMT

    I only wish Hayden is picked for the forthcoming South Africa tour and if he fails to score enough runs, he could be replaced by Phillip Hughes or Phil Jaques. The other two prospects - Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh could be given chances for the one day matches.