Hayden will be forced to retire: Reports

Ricky Ponting said he would not guarantee out-of-form Hayden's future as the axe may fall including Symonds if they lose series against South Africa.

updated: December 30, 2008 08:16 IST
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Fishing mates Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds face the boot, as captain Ricky Ponting conceded Australia were under pressure to make one of its biggest selection culls in a long time with series defeat to South Africa staring on the face.

Ponting would not guarantee out-of-form Hayden's future beyond the MCG but the axe may fall to more players including Symonds if the home side loses the second Test and the series against South Africa.

"If we lose (the second Test at the MCG) we might be thinking about (changes) a little bit more," said Ponting who could be the first captain to lose a home series since 1992-93 if South Africa notch up 153 on the fifth and final day.

"Changes tend to be made more when you're losing games. The selectors, I am sure, will have had their thinking caps on over the past couple of days of this game already," he added when asked about possible changes in the team for the third Test starting in Sydney on January 3.

Hayden scored 23 in Australia's second innings to take his season's tally to a depressing 79 runs at 11.29 average.

"We're all feeling for him a bit at the moment. He's going through a pretty rough trot, which all of us as batsmen have probably been through at some stage in our careers. We'll help him along the way as much as we can and expect him to be upbeat and giving us as much as he can in the field tomorrow.

"We'll leave that up to the selectors to decide (whether he plays in Sydney). We haven't spoken about any selections for next week just yet," Ponting was quoted as saying by 'The Herald Sun'.

According to the newspaper, those close to Hayden have indicated he could be forced to announce his retirement as he is almost certain to be dropped.

The decision of selection panel to play an injured Symonds has also backfired. The controversial all-rounder's inability to bowl his medium-pacers and constricted movement in the field have haunted Australia throughout the match and his timid five-ball duck in the second innings further eroded his status as Australia's pre-eminent batting all-rounder.

Asked if all-rounder Shane Watson could replace Symonds in Sydney, Ponting said, "I am really not sure exactly what is going through the selector's minds. There will be time to talk about that for me and the selectors at the end of this game."