Fellow veteran Ryan Harris moves in to congratulate Bulls skipper James Hopes after the fall of a Tasmanian wicket in last year’s Sheffield Shield final.
Fellow veteran Ryan Harris moves in to congratulate Bulls skipper James Hopes after the fall of a Tasmanian wicket in last year’s Sheffield Shield final. Getty Images

Hopes calls for old heads to show way

CRICKET: With Australian cricket going through a difficult period, Queensland captain James Hopes believes the key to the puzzle is if veterans like himself hang around.

Hopes is 34, but has not given up on breaking back into the national team.

Just as dear to him as that hope is remaining on the domestic circuit, to help the country's hottest young prospects develop their games.

"What's important for Australian cricket is when guys get to my age, that we don't stop playing even though we're only a small chance of playing for Australia," Hopes said.

"We stick around and we help some of these young guys go through the whole process of playing first-class cricket and what it takes to play for Australia.

"I think we've lost too many of those guys over the last few years.

"It's pleasing when I look at the state lists for this year that they've got guys that are 33, 34 in their squads still."

Hopes points to Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris as a prime example of a veteran passing on skills to the younger generation.

The 33-year-old was one of the few shining lights for Australia in its 347-run thumping at the hands of England in the second Test, picking up five wickets in the first innings.

"As soon as he got back into the team he was going to be one of the best bowlers in the team," Hopes said of the big Queenslander, who returned for that game after an achilles injury.

"He's the best bowler in the country."

Hopes has made his own recovery from a nagging knee injury that kept him out for a large chunk of last summer.

"I can't wait. I'm as fit as I've been since 2010, touching wood," he said.

"Both knees are good at the moment - my work-loads are the same as all the other players.

"Over the last couple of years, I haven't been able to do everything because of the fluid in my knees, and tears, but I've enjoyed the last six or seven weeks of training."



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