Australian opener Matthew Hayden's Ashes hope now rests on the selectors who will meet soon to pick 25 players for the central contract for the 2009-10 season.
Hayden has already expressed his desire to retire after the Ashes but at 37 his chances look bleak. If selectors give him a contract and he retires after one series, a rookie misses out because a contract cannot be replaced.
For the selectors when they hand out the 25 Cricket Australia (CA) contracts in April, their task will be to choose, firstly, players who can win matches, and secondly to encourage young prospects.
With a focus on the 2011 World Cup - as shown by the those chosen for the squad this summer - a number of young players are likely to be contracted.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that if selectors felt Hayden was the best man for the tour, he would be given a contract and payment would cease on his retirement.
The selectors have also taken the extraordinary step of meeting every contracted and prospective player after a disappointing summer.