Ponting eyes Hughes to replace Katich
Australia captain Ricky Ponting has touted New South Wales opener Phil Hughes as the most likely replacement for Simon Katich for the third Ashes Test in Perth.
Hughes has seven Test caps, having burst onto the international scene last year only to be dropped after the second Ashes Test at Lord’s that July.
The 22-year-old left-hander was recalled for single Tests against Pakistan in January and New Zealand in March, but has not featured for the senior side since.
He faced England in their last tour match prior to the Ashes, making just two in the first innings but a respectable 81 in the second before the tourists beat Australia A by 10 wickets.
Ponting admitted no decisions have yet been made about the Australia squad for the third Test, but changes are expected after some disappointing performances.
"Phil Hughes is the first one that comes to mind," he said. "We know what his international record is like. He's got a few runs under his belt so he's probably the first cab off the rank. I'd be surprised if it's not him that comes in.
"I'm not a selector. The chairman of selectors and I haven't spoken yet. I'm not sure what they're thinking. We'll have a good discussion.”
Ponting also backed his team to recover from their drubbing at the hands of England in the second Test, which saw the tourists take a 1-0 lead in the series.
"At the end of the day whatever 11 players are selected I expect they can do the job for Australia,” he said.
“This week they haven't done that. It's about finding the attitude, because I know the ability is there to get the job done."
Katich faces at least a month on the sidelines and admitted he is shattered his Ashes series has come to an end.
"I'm obviously very disappointed. It will be hard not being a part of it," he said. "Obviously in the field I was battling to move around so it didn't come as a huge surprise when I found out the results of the scans.
"I'm very disappointed with two games into the series to not be able to have a chance to try and turn things around with the team."
Katich acknowledged there will be enough talent for the selectors to call upon as a replacement to open Australia's batting.
"I'm sure there's going to be plenty of other options for the selectors to replace me. I'm sure there's someone else that will get an opportunity and take it. There are some very good candidates," he added.
Another player who is looking for a call-up to the Australia squad is Nathan Hauritz.
The off-spinner was left out of the first two Ashes Tests in favour of Xavier Doherty but, after taking seven wickets and scoring a maiden century for New South Wales in his last two Sheffield Shield outings, Hauritz is hoping his current form warrants a recall to Ponting’s depleted side.
"Whenever you're dropped you are always looking to perform well," he said.
"I've been lucky enough to take some wickets (seven in the previous Shield match) and score some runs but the job's only halfway done.
"I've got to bat well tomorrow and bowl well on the last day. I was dropped (from the Test team) for not doing my role in the side.
"I've got to go back to first-class cricket and prove I can do that and restore the faith in the selectors and the captain.
"If you're taking wickets, scoring runs and playing the role they want you're put in their faces."
Asked if he felt he could have aided Australia as they struggled to take wickets in the first two Tests, Hauritz said: "(I feel) there's always a role for me.
"I feel for the guys. It's very hard (to watch).They're great mates and it's been a tough time, especially for the bowling group. I know they will bounce back. They are a strong unit."
Whether that unit contains Hauritz in Perth - where he took seven wickets for NSW last week - remains to be seen.
"It was a tough time for a couple of days but I've moved on," he said of his axing. "The only thing I can do is bowl well, put the ball in the right areas.
"The most important thing is to play a role with the ball and win games on the fourth and fifth day."
On his Shield century, in an innings team-mate Hughes made only four, Hauritz added: "To bat all day is fantastic. It's a pretty special feeling. It will be something that will stick with me for a long time."