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February 19, 2006
Mark Waugh has come out in support of Phil Jaques who was left out of the squad touring South Africa, partly because of his fielding. "I think his performances have been outstanding and I think it's a bit of a lame excuse to say his fielding isn't up to scratch," Waugh said in the Sunday Telegraph. "I think his fielding is adequate enough to hold a spot in the team."
Last week Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, said his skills in the field were one reason for the exclusion of Jaques, who has been prolific for New South Wales this summer. Jaques, who made 94 on his one-day international debut at Melbourne, has scored six centuries for NSW and claimed the country's prestigious Player-of-the-Year award. He and Simon Katich had been in contention for the opening spot in the national team, but Katich cemented his place in the touring party with a maiden one-day hundred on Tuesday.
Mark Taylor, the former captain, also seemed to disagree with Hohns's assessment. "I think at the end of the day Jaques has missed out because there just isn't room in the team," Taylor said. "I really don't think his fielding is the main reason he's missed out. I think the chairman of selectors has tried to make a point of it, which probably goes for all of Australia's cricketers."
Tony Greig, the former England captain and commentator, has also joined the pro-Jaques chorus. "They [selectors] obviously have had to come up with something. What I would be doing if I was Jaques is asking the selectors to be a bit more specific," Greig said. "I'd want to know what is exactly the problem."
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