Ex-Test opener Jacques puts his hand up for Oz team selection

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MELBOURNE - Former Australian left-hand opener Phil Jaques appears to be putting his hand up again for national selection after scoring consecutive first class centuries against Victoria, despite a lion-hearted effort from Test pacer Peter Siddle.

Thanks to Jacques, who was out of first class cricket until recently with a serious back injury that required a couple of surgeries, New South Wales have batted themselves into an insurmountable position at stumps on the third day of the Shield game at the MCG.

“We said it in the first innings, he had that look back in his eye where he looked determined to bat all day,” NSW coach Matthew Mott said.

Mott added: “He’s looked good in fits and starts this year, and it was the first game he had to set his stall out to bat all day, and he batted extremely well.”

Already 449 ahead, the Blues are all but assured of a berth in next month’s Sheffield Shield final.

They will fancy their chances of dismissing Victoria’s inexperienced line-up today to seal their sixth outright victory of the season and kick 10 points clear at the top of the table.

And Jaques appears set to play a big part in the Blues’ push for their first Shield title since 2007-08 after a stellar match that will allay any fears he had of being the man squeezed out should the injured Simon Katich return this season.

Much has changed in the Australian cricket landscape since the halcyon days of Jaques’s career, not least the arrival of Phillip Hughes.

Turning 32 in May, Jaques’s hopes of reviving a Test career, which was abruptly halted after a century in his last innings in the Caribbean in 2008, will rocket with more performances like Monday’s.

“His first-class record is outstanding. He’s come back from two serious back operations, and that’s taken its toll. He couldn’t do as much volume with his batting as he used to be able to but he’s now fully fit,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Mott, as saying. (ANI)

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