London: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has urged coach Darren Lehmann to stick with his under-performing top six batsmen, saying no one performs at their best with ‘the axe hanging over’ them.
Lehmann warned his batsmen that their Test careers were in jeopardy after a dramatic second innings collapse in the fourth Test saw England to a third straight Ashes series win.
“No-one’s guaranteed (their place). Apart from probably Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers,” he said, referring to the captain and the opener.
But Waugh, who played 168 Tests, said selectors need to stick with the nation’s top six Test batsmen if they are to have any chance of putting Australian cricket back on a winning path. He said uncertainty over selection meant fringe batsmen were unable to relax into their natural stroke play.
“Look at Phil Hughes, he’s been up and down the order and has been dropped three or four times in 20 Tests. That doesn’t give you much confidence,” Waugh was quoted as saying by the Australian media late Tuesday.
“Usman Khawaja is another example. If you’ve got the axe hanging over your head always it is really hard to relax and play your natural game.
Selectors have got to say: ‘We’re going to go through some tough times, but these are the six or seven batsmen we believe in and we’re going to back them even if they don’t succeed straight away’.”