Sydney: Australian selectors have spared pace bowler Brett Lee and out of form opener Mathew Hayden for the Boxing Day Test against South Africa, but the senior players of the team have been told they are letting down a side in transition.
Two fresh faces have been drafted into a Test squad of 13, with NSW spinner Nathan Hauritz replacing Jason Krejza and Tasmania"s Ben Hilfenhaus to be measured alongside Victorian Peter Siddle for the third fast-bowling position.
Selectors" patience is wearing thinner with every passing Test in this period of rebuilding as the roles played by Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist has been revealed fully by their absence, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch clearly feels let down by the experienced players who remain in the Test team.
Rather than the players counting their Test experience on one or two hands, it"s the veterans who will decide the fate of the team as it faces what now appears to be its biggest challenge in a decade, Hilditch indicated.
“It is up to them how successful this rebuilding phase is going to be. We have no doubt that the young players we are introducing have the potential to become very good Test players, but it is up to the senior players to step up, and Brett Lee is one of those," he said.
Hilditch said selectors didn"t regard Lee as being at the end of his career, the challenge to the one-time express bowler remained clear.
“We think Brett can get back to his very best but like any other player, he has to perform, and it is particularly important that he performs when we"re trying to rebuild. Brett stands out as the experienced bowler who"s got to lead the way," he added.
Senior batsmen, too, had to take responsibility for the side in its rebuilding phase, according to the selectors.