Aussie veterans have a big role to play: Arthur

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Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 17:08 [IST]
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Coach Arthur backs Aussie trio

Sydney, Dec 13: With another failure, Ricky Ponting is on the verge of facing the axe as his experience might be the only saving grace as the selection committee announces the squad for the four match test series against India starting later this month.

According to Australia coach Mickey Arthur, Ponting has a big role to play in the series against India. Seniors in the team are targeted as they have failed to live up to their expectations, failing miserably in the last few months as the team has witnessed a lowest ever in the past five weeks.

Naturally, there is a lot of pressure on the former Australian skipper as he is one of the players, who is under pressure to keep his place in the side after failing to score a century in his last 31 innings.

The fate remains to be the same for fellow veterans Mike Hussey and Brad Haddinas they are sailing in the same boat as Ponting, as their Test futures hanging by a thread. However, coach supports the inclusion of the three veterans as they play a vital role in the four match test series against India starting on Dec 26.

He further added saying the team management has not thought about how to manage the team after the exit of any of the veterans.

"In my opinion they still have big roles to play because we do need some experience in our middle order, there's no doubt about it.

"The key for us is to get them up firing for Australia on Boxing Day because they are the key."

After a dismal show in the recently concluded series against New Zealand, opener Phil Hughes is likely to be sacked since, Shane Watson is expected to be fit by that time.

Similar to Ponting's issue, pressure is increasing on wicketkeeper Haddin, who has been inconsistent with the bat and behind the stumps, which will be the hot topic during the selection for the upcoming series.

"I think in between that (Cape Town and Hobart) there was a match-winning innings in Johannesburg - you do take the good with the bad," Arthur said.

"I still think he is a hell of a player with a huge amount to offer."

Australia will be without Shaun Marsh, who is nursing an back injury as he wouldn't be fit for the Boxing day Test starting on Dec 26.

The 28-year-old was earlier expected to make his return from a back injury for a Chairman's XI in a Canberra tour match against the visitors.

Watson, who was hurt during the Aussies' first-Test defeat in South Africa last month, is losing his fitness fight making himself unavailable for the opener of the four match series against India.

Cricket Australia manager Pat Howard said the management is hopeful of Shaun's chances of recovering sufficiently in order to be considered for the first test, which seems to be unlikely at this stage.

With experience to back them, veterans' cricketing future is hanging by a thread. It remains to be seen if the selectors back the veterans by giving them one last chance to perform since its one of the most awaited tour of the year.


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