Shaun Tait not forgotten, says Hilditch
Australian chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch insists Shaun Tait has not been forgotten despite his culling from the nation’s list of 25 centrally-contracted players.
Tait, Phil Jaques, Beau Casson, Adam Voges and Ashley Noffke were the casualties of the announcement on Thursday, while spinners Jason Krejza and Bryce McGain were also absent from a squad that featured only one specialist tweaker – Nathan Hauritz.
Still on the trail back from a series of debilitating hamstring problems, Tait was said to be devastated by his omission, as Cricket Australia streamlined their rankings after a year in which high turnover led to 11 players being picked from outside 2008′s original pool.
Hilditch described Tait as a victim of circumstances as much as injury, and promised he would be back in the international frame for limited overs duty as soon as he was ready.
“Shaun’s been quite clearly told he’s very much in the mix for one-day cricket in particular and he’ll be closely considered once he’s back to full fitness,” Hilditch said.
“We hope he’s going to play cricket for us in the next 12 months but it’s still a bit uncertain when he’s still not back to full fitness and training, so we’ll just monitor that, how he progresses.
“Opportunities may present sooner rather than later with Australia A playing a tournament in July and one day cricket starting in England at the end of the Ashes.
“He took it extremely well, probably because he’s such a great bloke, but underneath all that I’m sure he’s hurting but I’m also sure he’ll come back strong.”
Tait’s place as the brightest young prospect on the Australian pace bowling scene has been usurped by the more durable Victorian Peter Siddle, whose strong displays at home and in South Africa saw him secure a first full contract.
Phillip Hughes, Andrew McDonald and Marcus North were similarly rewarded, while older heads Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson and Brad Hodge were all included after years in which they may have doubted their chances of staying on the international roster.
There was welcome news, too, for Graham Manou and Callum Ferguson, after both made late runs to gain national recognition.
Manou is still unsure whether he will be picked as Brad Haddin’s back-up `keeper for the Ashes tour, but is now safe in the knowledge he will be part of CA’s plans over a demanding 12-month schedule.
Australia’s players are likely to visit England, South Africa, India, New Zealand and England again during that time, in addition to the usual demands of a home summer.
Nevertheless, Hilditch indicated that he wanted to see the Test XI settle down during the period following a year of regeneration.
“They basically don’t stop now until May or June next year, they’ve really got 12 months of constant cricket, with no gaps whatsoever, so we’ll still be looking to rest key players in one day cricket from time to time and that’s going to create opportunities,” Hilditch said.
“Test cricket is a different matter, the XI that walks out for the first Test of the Ashes, we’ll be hoping that’s the XI for whole 12 months so you’ll see a lot less changes in Test cricket if we’re playing well.”
The Ashes tour party will be named next Wednesday, and Hilditch said selectors were mulling over whether to choose 15 or 16 for the trip.
Contracted players for 2009-10: Doug Bollinger, Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hodge, James Hopes, Phil Hughes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Graham Manou, Shaun Marsh, Andrew McDonald, Marcus North, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Cameron White.© AAP 2013