Monday, 24 November 2008

Aussie Captain Backs Hayden For the Ashes 2009

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has given Aussie opener Matthew Hayden his full support and backing after the openers latest couple of failure's against New Zealand in the recent Test victory over the black caps. These two failures with the bat come on the back of a poor tour to India for Hayden, who admitted last week that his place in the baggy green line up was by no means assured.

Hayden's poor form with the bat has led to great speculation in the Australian media whether or not Hayden will be good enough to partake in next years Ashes series.

The 37 year old batsman who is preparing to play his 100th test match in Adelaide next weekend should gain a degree of confidence after his skipper declared Hayden as the best opener in the country. Ponting also went on to predict that Hayden would celebrate his 100th appearance for Australia in style.

Ponting feels that Matthew Hayden still has the desire and hunger to compete at test level and feels that Hayden will be a key figure during next years ashes tour.

"I feel skills-wise and hunger-wise Matthew Hayden is still my best opener," said Ponting.

"I have seen how hungry Matty is. I think anyone batting in the top order can be excused for their batting here. The ball he got in the second innings would get any player in the world out first ball."

Hayden only got 8 in the 1st innings against New Zealand before getting a peach of a first ball delivery from Chris Martin in the 2nd.

"The pleasing thing for me about it is I got down here early the next day and Matty makes me bring him a coffee from the hotel," Ponting said.

"I put the coffee on his seat because I did not think he was at the ground but he was in the indoor nets already and he had been there for nearly an hour.

"That said to me that real hunger was still there. He has always been one to work extremely hard on his game if he feels there is something not quite right.

"I know Matthy's game as well as anyone because I played so long with him. I have picked things up about the way he thinks and the way he plays and he will say `how did you know that?"

"I haven't seen anything to suggest he is not as good as he used to be. It is only a couple of Tests ago he made a terrific 80. He got a couple of poor decisions in India and when you are not scoring as many runs as you like those things tend to add up pretty quickly.

"I wouldn't be reading too much into Matty's form. He has his 100th Test this week. I know having been there and done that it is one of those things in my career I was most proud of.

"He can reap the benefits of the work he has done this week and I wouldn't be surprised if you see another really good score."

Australia will need all the experience they can get for next years Ashes series, particularly to help support the younger players who are in the process of establishing themselves as international test cricketers, but at the same time Australia cannot afford to carry any particular player in the squad. Everyone will have to earn their place!

As crucial as the home and away test series against South Africa is for Australia's build up to the Ashes, you can't help to think that, that particular series will decide if Matthew Hayden joins the touring ashes party to England next summer or not.