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Vics coach backs Hastings selection

Sportal November 27, 2012, 9:03 am
John Hastings

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Victorian coach Greg Shipperd is confident John Hastings can do the job for Australia if he is selected to play in the third Test against South Africa.

Hastings, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazelwood have all been added to an extended 14-man Australian squad for the Test in Perth beginning on Friday, as the National Selection Panel (NSP) consider whether or not to use a four-pronged pace attack at the WACA.

The Australians have used four pacemen in Perth in the last two Tests at the ground against India and England, recording comprehensive victories in both matches.

But the NSP's job is being made harder heading into the series-deciding game by the fact first-choice bowlers Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus may need to be rested after lionhearted efforts in the drawn second Test in Adelaide, as they picked up the slack following James Pattinson's rib injury.

Mitchell Starc has already been named as Pattinson's replacement but all of the three new inclusions remain a chance to feature against the Proteas.

Hastings did his chances no harm whatsoever during the recent Shield game for Victoria against South Australia.

Although the Bushrangers were comprehensively beaten by nine wickets, Hastings claimed 5-66 during the Redbacks' first innings and made a valuable lower-order 80 after Victoria's top order crumbled.

Hastings now has 22 wickets at 18.30 this summer and Shipperd believes that type of form will translate nicely to the Test arena.

"I'm sure the Australian selectors are taking close notice of his performance," said Shipperd.

"With the bowling it was a one-man show," the coach added, referring to Hastings' efforts to dismantle South Australia last Saturday and Sunday as Phil Hughes scored a mammoth 158.

"He did the business and showed what a fine bowler he is and with the bat, he just shows that ability with the lower order.

"Australian teams, I know, like batting depth and players that can make a contribution.

"So he'll be in the mix at some stage across the next four Tests with the attrition that's occurring with pace bowlers at the moment."

The 27-year-old has played in 11 one-day internationals for Australia and three Twenty20 games, although a possible Test appearance looked a long way off when he required a full shoulder reconstruction in October last year.

"He was a fine cricketer before he was injured and had the ability to play long and hard and bowl long spells and be able to back up game after game in all forms of the game," said Shipperd.

"He was a representative (for Victoria) in all three forms of the game in the very good year that he did have, so it's no surprise to us (that he's in the selection mix).

"It's great to have him back and firing and hopefully competing for a next-level opportunity."