Jaques answers injury call
Phil Jaques, the New South Wales opening batsman, will bolster Australia's limping one-day squad in South Africa after being picked as cover. Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, made the decision to give Jaques a second international chance after injuries prevented Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds from playing in the six-wicket loss at Centurion on Sunday.
"As we're two batsmen down, the selectors feel it is essential to fly Phil in," Hohns said. "There's no doubt Phil's form has been great this summer and we've every confidence in him if his services are called upon."
Jaques has played only one match for Australia, scoring a magnificent 94 in the VB Series, and he was not chosen in the initial squad for South Africa, partly because of poor fielding. The side's batting is under-strength due to Ponting's stomach injury and Symonds's hip problem and it struggled to 8 for 229 at Centurion.
Adam Gilchrist believed Ponting would be out for "at least a week" and the captain's progress will determine how long Jaques stays in South Africa. "Once Ricky has regained his fitness," Hohns said, "the panel will review the numbers in the squad with a view to the remaining matches in the series." The second game of the five-match series is at Cape Town on Friday and the third is at Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Simon Katich survived Jaques's challenge during the Australian season when his New South Wales team-mate was in fantastic form. Jaques, who was part of the Blues' ING Cup win against South Australia on Sunday, scored 683 domestic one-day runs at 85.37 with four centuries in ten matches.