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Harvey urges Test selectors to go young

AAP logoAAP 18/11/2016 Adrian Warren

Cricket legend Neil Harvey has blamed bigger bats for the technical deficiencies of Australia's batsmen and implored selectors to take a punt on youth.

He described Australia's batting in their two Test losses to South Africa as pathetic and lamented their lack of application.

Asked on Friday what he thought their problem was, 88-year-old Harvey said "lack of technique".

He said he had never seen so many players getting hit in the head as in recent years and put that down to poor footwork.

"I think the main reason they are getting hurt is their first movement is playing forward all the time and once you play forward it's difficult to go back," Harvey said.

"But if you go back first and then forward, that's the way to play the game.

"But these days with the heavy bats - that drags them forward because they don't have to hit the ball any more.

"They just have to lean the bat on the ball and it goes for four or over the fence.

"To me, that's not cricket. That's taken a lot of the skill out of the game.

"I think those cricket bats they use today are the main blame for the lack of technique with batsmen."

Harvey made his Test debut at 19 and had no qualms about backing youth when he was a selector.

"I think the time has come when changes have got to be made," he said

"We've got to give the young blokes a bit of a go.

"I played for Australia when I was 19 and you can't tell me you are too young to play for Australia.

"For a lot of years they have not gone to young blokes.

"It's very very rare that you get blokes under 24 getting a go for Australia, and to my mind it's wrong"

Among the the emerging breed of batsmen Harvey would like to see get a chance at Test level are South Australian Travis Head, 22, who has already played ODIS and T20 internationals, and 23-year-old Kurtis Patterson of NSW.

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