| BUCHANAN: Against changes in team
Sydney: Despite being criticised by former stars, Mark Waugh thinks he still has it in him to live up to the demands of Test cricket. The right-hander’s form has been on the decline and he did his cause no good by failing to produce anything more than a half-century in the recent series against Pakistan.
“I just haven’t really made the big scores but hopefully, if I’m there in the first Test against England, I’m pretty confident I can do well,” he said Thursday. “I think I am batting just as well at the moment, it’s just a matter of posting the score.”
The Australian selectors, who have said they will not be influenced by the teammates’ support for Mark, will meet on Monday to pick the squad for the first Ashes Test beginning in Brisbane on November 7.
“I’m playing well enough. The speculation has happened probably about the last three years, hopefully I can turn that around again and make some runs. But it’s not the end of the world, is it really'
“I can’t do anything about it right now. Whatever’s going to be is going to be,” Mark said.
He has plenty of backers in high places, including teammates and coach John Buchanan. “The selectors have shown faith in all players and I would expect them to continue to show that faith,” Buchanan said.
“The side is going along in good shape and I would expect the selectors to take that into account. He has been part of that side for a long period of time and it will be a big decision for selectors to remove someone like Mark.
“He’s still one of the great fieldsmen of all time,” said the coach.
Mark’s teammates have rallied behind him with Glenn McGrath describing him as a legend and one-day captain Ricky Ponting pressing for his inclusion. Matthew Hayden said Mark would “get my vote, no doubt about it.”
Ponting felt Mark had been unlucky in the Pakistan series. “He played well in the first Test in Colombo. He made 55 but then had a couple of good balls and in a three-Test series a couple of good balls and a decision you’re not happy with and all of a sudden the series is gone.”
Mark’s critics insist he should be sacked. David Hookes feels he should be dropped as an indirect consequence of Steve Waugh’s century against Pakistan because that would give the selectors the opportunity to ease the brothers out separately.
“I think the selectors have been proved to be reluctant to get rid of them both together,” Hookes said. “I think the hundred of Steve (in Sharjah) means he will play and that will allow them to ease the other one out.”