Greats outraged over Katich axing
Test opening batsman Simon Katich has been stabbed in the back and "appallingly hung" in being dumped from Cricket Australia's 2011-12 contract list, former greats said in reports today.cricket Updated: Jun 09, 2011 09:46 IST
Test opening batsman Simon Katich has been stabbed in the back and "appallingly hung" in being dumped from Cricket Australia's 2011-12 contract list, former greats said in reports Thursday.
Katich was the notable omission when the list of CA's contracted players for next season was released on Tuesday, effectively ending the 56-Test batsman's international career.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said his panel felt it was time to forge a new opening partnership ahead of the next Ashes series against England in two years' time, and there was now no room for 35-year-old Katich.
But the decision outraged former players and cricket writers.
"If his replacement came in scoring hundreds and was red hot, then I can understand an injury stopping someone in their mid-30s," television pundit and former Test opener Michael Slater told the Daily Telegraph.
"But that clearly hasn't happened ... I think he has been appallingly hung."
Bob Simpson, who returned to cricket at the age of 41 to captain Australia during the World Series crisis in the 1970s, said he was shocked by Katich's axing.
"When you are regenerating a team you are looking for three or four players who are reliable and will do their job and you start with the opening batsmen. If you have two great opening batsmen you are on your way," Simpson told The Australian.
"Age shouldn't be brought into (it)," Simpson said. "In Simon's case he has proved himself and been successful since returning."
Katich and Shane Watson average over 50 as an opening partnership, a figure only beaten by Simpson and Bill Lawry.
Former Test batsman Mark Waugh said he found Katich's demise a hard decision to comprehend.
"I know he's 35, but who's to say he hasn't got a good 12 to 24 months left in him? It's a bit of a shock for sure," Waugh told Fox Sports.
"There are three guys over 35 in the top six: Mike Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Katich. Obviously that's got a lot to do with it and the selectors don't want three players leaving at the same time."
Veteran cricket writer Malcolm Conn said Katich had been betrayed by the selectors.
"While Katich had a knife plunged into his back, silver spoons were handed out liberally elsewhere," Conn wrote in the Telegraph.
"Two players who are supposed to be part of Australia's next generation, Shaun Marsh, 27, and Callum Ferguson, 26, have exceptionally modest first-class records."
Reports said Katich, who averages 45 in Tests, was expected to make a decision on his playing future shortly.