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Ponting backs Hayden to play on

cricket Updated: Jan 07, 2009 20:27 IST
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Struggling Australian opener Mathew Hayden on Wednesday got the backing of his captain Ricky Ponting who said the veteran's experience is valuable to the side which is going through a transitional phase.

The national one-day and Twenty20 sides for South Africa are set to be named on Thursday and there is uncertainty about Hayden's selection in either side.

Ponting wanted the 37-year-old to fight his way out of his lean patch in national colours but said the decision was in selectors' hands.

"It's not up to me," Ponting was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph. "I'd love Matty (Hayden) to keep playing, if you are asking me personally."

"I'd have him in my team every day of the week because he's a champion player and a champion bloke and great for our team right at the moment.

"Those sort of experienced guys are great to have around your team when you are rebuilding and in transition. I would take him into battle every time."

Ponting said he had seen no indication that Hayden was ready to call it quits despite his extended form slump.

"I'm pretty good mates with Matty. I've known him for a long time and I've had no indication either way," he said.

"He showed a lot of good signs in the second innings of this game on a pretty difficult wicket. I just don't know one way or the other at the moment. But if anything I'd be saying that it's all pretty positive that he wants to go on.