Former Aussie stars slam Hilditch for Katich axe

Sydney: Cricket Australia`s move to exclude Simon Katich from its list of 25 contracted players did not go down well with former Aussie greats, with Michael Slater terming the decision ludicrous.

Former opener Slater said it`s Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of the selection panel, who should be sacked, not Katich.

"He`s got that guts, grit, determination; he is an old-fashioned cricketer. To me he sums up what Test cricket is all about. They have shown him no support whatever," Slater said.

"Statistically for the past three years he has been our best performer, then he gets injured and doesn`t play for the rest of the summer.

"The new opening combination with the youngster (Phil Hughes) doesn`t set the world alight and we lose the series," Slater added.

Taking a potshot at the chief selector, Slater said, "The selectors are going down the worst line, the most dangerous line, and it has got to the point where Andrew Hilditch as chairman of selectors has to go. This is the final straw. It is a ludicrous decision."

The elegant Mark Waugh too, was shocked by the decision.

"Given his record it`s got to be seen as a bit of a shock to everybody," Waugh said.

"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.”

"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," Waugh, who was dropped from the Australian squad at 37, said.

Bob Simpson, who helped Katich get his technique in order after Hilditch told the batsman in 2007 that he was finished in Test cricket, found the decision difficult to comprehend.

"I was shocked. 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 was quoted as saying in `Australian`.

"Age shouldn`t be brought into. In Simon`s case he has proved himself and been successful since returning.”

"I tell you it`s nice to be number three when you know the openers are going to do that for you. It`s the sort of start a young team -- any team -- needs."


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