Should age be an issue?
By STEVE SPINKS
THE captain of the oldest cricket team in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League believes Australian sides should be selected on form, not age.
Richard Nind, who has captained Southern Districts to two L JHooker League premierships in a row, reckons people should stop talking about the age of the Australian team in the lead-up to the decisive Fifth Ashes Test against England at The Oval in London.
And Nind should know something about ageing cricket teams.
After all, the average age of a Souths first-grader is 34.
"It (selections) should be kept on form," Nind said.
"As long as they (the older players) keep themselves in good nick."
Nind also pointed out that the two oldest players in the Australian team, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, have been their best.
The debate about the ageing Australian team has come to a head since the Ashes series swung in favour of England.
The average age of the team in the last Test was 30.
But little change is expected for the Aussie line-up tonight.
While acknowledging there is a wide gap in standard between the Hooker League and Test cricket, Nind believes his side is a like good red wine ... it gets better with age.
"Blokes like Lenard Blok bowl better and better every year," Nind said.
"Other blokes like Fredo (Paul Fredericks) have to work a bit extra.
"But it should be on form.
"I reckon Steve Waugh (the former Australian captain who retired when he was 38) could have kept going."
However, the 38-year-old Nind pointed out that sometimes the Australian selectors should bite the bullet and sack players not performing, regardless of age.
"Sometimes you have to blood some young fellas," he said.
"And sometimes you need to freshen up players."
So are Souths going to inject some young blood into their Dad's Army outfit?
"We're all pretty keen to see if we can win three in a row," Nind said.
"We have a few young kids coming through with potential.
"We'll hang on until they come through."
Hopefully some up-and-coming cricketers will also push into the Test line-up soon, otherwise the Australians may rival Southern Districts as one of the oldest competitive teams going around.