Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thank you Matty... and goodbye

I said I would be happy when Matthew Hayden retired. Relieved is a more accurate word. I thoroughly enjoyed his career. His career was a brilliant one. It would be fair to say that he was in the top 3 batsmen for Australia over the last two decades along with Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh. That's a fair call, considering he never captained Australia. So no hard feelings Matty, thanks for all the good times, and thanks for stepping aside to give the young blokes a chance.

Speaking of young blokes the question now falls as to who should fill Hayden's shoes. An obvious choice would be Phil Jaques at 29, going on 30, although that's not very young, but has been the common age of selection for the test side in the recent era. Jaques was the opener who replaced Langer when he retired. He has played 11 test matches for 902 runs with an average of 47 and a high score of 150. These are very dependable figures. Jaques is currently out on injury and has not played much cricket this season.

Katich has played well in recent times and should happily keep his spot. He is 33 now, and probably only has 3 years left in him. But this may be perfect timing for David Warner who will then be 25 to replace him.

Phil Hughes is the exciting option in my estimation. At 20 years of age, he has already played 16 matches for NSW at shield level, with a very handy average of 53.48. Everyone knows that Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia is serious stuff, so his average should count for something. I wonder if the Australian selectors will take a risk and go for youth. I hope they do, but my bet is they will choose Jaques.

There are exciting days ahead for Australian cricket, if the right choices are made.

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