Sydney: Australian selector Allan Border has challenged the nation's cricketers to help end the search for a world-class all-rounder.
The former Test skipper said the start of the new season in October was a crucial time for Australia to unearth a genuine all-rounder ahead of the 2003 World Cup. "We've been trying to get that role filled. We've got good candidates in there but they haven't quite grabbed the position and said, look, this is mine," Border told reporters Wednesday. "Whoever sticks their hand up over the next 12 months or leading into the World Cup, that will be a key position for us." New South Wales all-rounder Shane Lee has not played a One-day international since April, 2001, during Australia's tour of India. Meanwhile, young Tasmanian Shane Watson is Australia's latest experiment in the position after selectors overlooked Andrew Symonds and Ian Harvey for the recent One- day series against Pakistan. But 21-year-old Watson, who has a mediocre economy rate of 5.49 runs per over from his first seven One-day internationals, has yet to make the successful transition. "It's what we really need and if we get that position filled well, we're going to be very hard to beat in that World Cup." Border said it was possible that Steve and Mark Waugh could return to the national One-day team after being axed earlier this year. "If they're playing for NSW (New South Wales) next year, they're in our thoughts, that's all I can say on it," Border said. "They're very determined blokes, aren't they, so anything could happen." Border said he was not overly worried about the Waugh twins, who recently turned 37, ending their Test careers together and leaving a hole in the Australian team. "If you just keep putting yourself up for selection, as long as your form holds, there won't be a problem. But the time will come, won't it, that happens to all of us. "To me, if you keep yourself in good nick, age is not the problem. Stephen keeps saying that, as does Mark." Border also said he was confident about Australia's prospects for the World Cup, which starts in South Africa next February. He was particularly pleased with Ricky Ponting's One-day captaincy. "We've got world- class players all over the place and we've got a host of younger guys coming through the ranks," he said. "I suppose we might live or die about how those young players come through this next season ... it will be interesting to see who comes out of the pack."
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Thatscricket Special: World Cup 2003