Hayden still in Aussie plans
Matthew Hayden will not use the Sydney Test as a farewell and he remains in Australia's plans for 2009, according to the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch. Hayden has held onto his spot for the third Test at the SCG and he is in a 12-man squad with the Victoria all-rounder Andrew McDonald and the fast bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger, who won selection because of injuries to Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson.
Hayden, 37, has been under pressure to justify his position in the side following a lean few months but Hilditch said the selectors did not expect next week's game to be Hayden's last. "I very much doubt it," Hilditch said. "It's not the way he's practising, it's not the way he's playing and it's not the type of person he is.
"I don't like testimonial Tests for anybody. He's in the side because he's in our best Australian side. That's not an issue at all from our perspective."
Hayden has made 79 runs at 11.28 in Australia's four home Tests this year and he has not posted a century since last season. However, with tours of South Africa and England coming up in 2009, Australia's selectors remain keen for Hayden to be a fixture at the top of the order.
"He deserves the opportunities he's been given," Hilditch said. "He's having a rough trot. Obviously he's had some issues with decisions which probably haven't gone his way and he's had some run-outs and it hasn't been an easy return from injury.
"But we are really confident he'll do the job for us in Sydney. It's important he's given that opportunity because moving forward we'd still like him very much to be part of our plans."
Hilditch said it was not a time for chopping and changing the side and the younger players needed support, although three alterations were forced for the Sydney match. Watson will be unable to bowl for up to six months due to back stress fractures and Lee will have foot surgery after hurting himself during the nine-wicket defeat at the MCG. Symonds, who was also part of the series loss, will have an operation on his knee.
Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew McDonald, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger.