Ponting backs Hayden for cricket final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ponting backs Hayden for cricket final

By Adam Cooper 03/02/2005 06:43:00 PM Comments (0)

If Australian captain Ricky Ponting has it his way, golden boy Michael Clarke will be denied a decent hit in the first day-night cricket final against Pakistan at the MCG.

Ponting wants struggling opener Matthew Hayden to play on Friday even though that means Clarke, who has been in barnstorming form this series opening in place of either Hayden or Adam Gilchrist, will bat at No.6.

"I think Matthew at his best is our best opener," was Ponting's justification for wanting the left-hander, who has scored just 42 runs this series compared to Clarke's aggregate of 364, which includes scores of 66, 97, 103 not out and 21 as an opener.

But despite Ponting's support, the captain was happy for the final call to be taken from his hands, and if Hayden misses out, he will know exactly who he has to convince of his worth for this month's New Zealand tour - the selectors.

"It's going to be a tough selection and as far as I'm concerned, Matthew is our best opener when he's at his best," Ponting said.

"Quite often the really tough selections around this team, I think it's only fair that selectors make those calls.

"I'll get my point across to the team that I want to have, but if there's something that the other four selectors see differently, then they'll make that call."

The Hayden-Clarke dilemma is not the only quandary for selectors.

Three bowlers are competing for two spots, with pacemen Michael Kasprowicz and Brett Lee both worthy candidates, along with left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg.

Lee could not break into the Test team but has been impeccable in the coloured clothes, and Kasprowicz was unlucky to lose the One-day Player of the Year award to Andrew Symonds on countback on Monday night, although he sat out Australia's past two matches.

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