Melbourne:The continuing form slump coupled with Australia's overall decline may prompt opener Matthew Hayden to retire from cricket after the ongoing Test series against South Africa.
Hayden, who has been woefully out of touch all through the season, may end his career after the third Test in Sydney.
Sources close to Hayden said he was deliberating on whether to play next year's Ashes or hang up his boots after the series against Graeme Smith's men which the Aussies are currently trailing 0-1.
"Hayden met selectors earlier in the summer and expressed his desire to play through next year's tours of South Africa and England before leaving the game. But that is now in significant doubt, as the father-of-three resolves whether he still possesses the passion, commitment and form to compete," the report said.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch hoped the burly opener would continue at least till the Ashes.
"I hope he is thinking his goal is still to go to the Ashes," he said.
Phil Jacques, the man most likely to replace Hayden as and when he retires, said he is ready for the job whenever called into the side.
"It's a little bit out of sight, out of mind because I haven't been playing cricket. But I am sure when I get back there I will be at the top of my game and ready to go if called upon," Jacques was quoted as saying by 'The Australian'.
"But it's pretty tough to get into the Australian team," Jacques said. "You've got to be at the top of your game for three-four years, which I felt like I've been doing," he added.