North only legitimate claimant to No.6 spot in Oz XI, says Moody

Melbourne, Jan 9 : West Australian coach Tom Moody has come out in support of batsman Marcus North, and described suggestions on the Australian No. 6 last chance in the third Test in Hobart to prove himself, as harsh.

North was named in a 13-man Australian squad for against Pakistan, starting Thursday, despite yet another disappointing batting display in Sydney.

Young opener Phillip Hughes was again included as a back up for Simon Katich, who will test out his injured elbow in a net session on Monday.

In five Tests on Australian soil this summer, North has scored just two half-centuries at an average of 23.25, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Two batsmen below him in the order, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and spinner Nathan Hauritz, have scored 246 runs (at 41) and 188 runs (at 31.3) respectively.

Moody said North deserved to be retained in the starting XI, and there was no legitimate middle-order batsman in the country who “could tick all the boxes” like the West Australian.

“I’m not surprised the selectors have shown faith in Marcus today. It was only a few months ago people were saying what a great middle-order player he was and what maturity he brought to the batting line-up and in the field,” Moody said.

“Punter [Ricky Ponting] and Michael Clarke could bounce ideas off him. At the end of the day, every player has the right to have a little bit of a form slump. Marcus is a proven player at that level against the best and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

“I’m not going to forecast what the selectors will or won’t do after Hobart, but you have to ask if there is a standout No. 5 or No. 6 batsman in the country at the moment who ticks all the boxes like Marcus does?,” Moody said

Moody said Hughes, who has publicly declared he’s capable of batting as low as No. 6, and Victorian Chris Rogers, were applying pressure to the top-order, not North. (ANI)



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