Cricket: Warne in danger of being dropped

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SHANE WARNE and Ian Healy are facing the unusual prospect of being left out by Australia for the fourth and final Test against the West Indies in Antigua on Saturday.

The West Indies' dramatic victory on Tuesday saw Australia go 2-1 down in the series, and the tourists' captain Steve Waugh hinted yesterday that changes will be made.

"It's always tough when the top players are out of a bit of form, but I look at myself," Waugh said. "People in the past have shown me respect and a bit of faith and hoped that I pulled through in tough times. But the bottom line is we've got to pick a side to win the next Test match, and if either of those guys, Healy and Warne, aren't in the best 11, then they won't be there.

"No one has the right to be in the side or has a right to a place, and if I don't get runs I expect someone to take my spot. Heals has done it for 115-odd Tests and Warney for 70-odd, so they know how to do it - but we've also got to pick our best side... it will be a difficult one."

Warne, yet to look his old self since shoulder surgery last April, faces his moment of truth when he sits down with fellow selectors Waugh and coach Geoff Marsh to pick the team. There is little chance Australia will persist with their twin leg-spin attack of Warne and Stuart MacGill, who took one wicket each in the third Test.

Wicketkeeper Healy, struggling with calf muscle problems, dropped Lara when the home team were seven runs short of their one-wicket victory, and has failed in this series to come up with the handy runs he usually provides in Australian lower middle-order.

Matthew Hart was a surprise inclusion when New Zealand named their 15- man squad for the World Cup yesterday. Hart, who will back-up fellow left- arm spinner Daniel Vettori, has not played for the Kiwis since 1996.

NEW ZEALAND WORLD CUP SQUAD: S P Fleming (capt), N J Astle, M J Horne, C D McMillan, R G Twose, C L Cairns, A C Parore, C Z Harris, D J Nash, D L Vettori, M N Hart, S B Doull, G R Larsen, C E Bulfin, G I Allott.