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Zimbabwe batsman axed from Australian State side


PERTH, Australia, March 12 (AFP) - Former star Zimbabwe batsman Murray Goodwin has been axed from the Western Australian state side after hitting the worst form slump of his first-class career.

Goodwin, 28, who played in 19 Tests and 64 one-day internationals for his native Zimbabwe before returning to Western Australia at the start of the current season, has been left out of the team for the state's final Sheffield Shield match of the summer.

In seven Shield appearances this season, Goodwin has averaged a mere 11.15, totalling only 145 runs from 13 innings, with just one score above 50 and nine below 10.

The Western Australian selection panel, headed by former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes, persevered with Goodwin, believing he would find form at first-class level because of his prolific touch in Australian domestic one-day cricket.

In the inter-state limited-overs competition, he thrashed 534 runs at an average of 76.28 -- by far the best performance in the Western Australian team.

The highlight came in January when he belted 167 from 137 balls in a match against New South Wales at the WACA Ground.

His score was the highest since domestic one-day games began in Australia 32 years ago, bettering the 164 made by former Australian opener Rick McCosker for New South Wales 19 years ago.

That performance prompted discussion about Goodwin's possible early return to the international scene.

But his string of failures in four-day cricket since then will send him back to the drawing board, knowing he faces a big challenge even to force his way back into the Western Australian line-up for next season.

Born in Rhodesia, which later became Zimbabwe, Goodwin moved to Western Australia in his early days and attended the Australian Cricket Academy in 1992 and 1993.

After making his first-class debut with Western Australia, he finally succumbed to overtures from Zimbabwe and moved back there four years ago.

He was a major success in Test ranks, hammering 1414 runs (including three centuries) at a healthy average of 42.84.

Goodwin cited personal reasons for his return to Western Australia at a time when he seemed assured of a long international career





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