Australia v Sri Lanka 2010-11

Xavier Doherty handed World Cup audition

Brydon Coverdale

October 26, 2010

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

Xavier Doherty, Tasmania's left-arm spinner, Victoria v Tasmania, Sheffield Shield, Melbourne, 2nd day, October 26, 2010
Xavier Doherty: "It's been one of the better days in my cricketing life" © Getty Images

Xavier Doherty will make his ODI debut at the MCG next Wednesday, while Victorians recover from Tuesday's Melbourne Cup festivities, but the only winning ticket he's interested in is one to the World Cup. Doherty is the latest spinner to be called into Australia's side and the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, believes he is the frontrunner to partner Nathan Hauritz at the World Cup.

Doherty celebrated his call-up with 5 for 83 in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the MCG. The stands were all but empty and it will be a vastly different experience in front of up to 40,000 people next week against a Sri Lankan side adept at handling spin bowling, but Doherty's success was a good sign all the same.

"It's been one of the better days in my cricketing life," Doherty said. "I was on a high after getting the news last night. Coming here today I had a bit to live up to and luckily things went my way today, so it was pretty pleasing.

"A little confidence boost like that never goes astray. It's good news to get going into a Shield game. I was pretty nervous going into this Shield game. I hadn't bowled in a four-day game for six months, so I was quite nervous, which is a bit unusual for me, so it definitely helped."

He hasn't played a lot of first-class cricket in recent seasons, but it's hard to believe Doherty has been overlooked for so long in the shorter formats. Last summer he was the leading wicket taker in the FR Cup with 20 victims and it was merely the latest in a string of strong one-day campaigns. He will arrive on the international scene at the age of 27, and believes it is the perfect time to make his international mark.

"Spin bowlers are very different," Doherty said. "You get batsmen who are 21 and fast bowlers that are 18 or 19 can come in to this system, but for spin bowlers it's always going to take a bit of time. Some guys will pop up at 20 and go missing and then come back in to it. I think it's pretty perfect timing for me, because it's allowed me to play 80 games for Tasmania and be in a lot of different situations and gain a lot of experience."

A left-arm orthodox bowler, Doherty is not a vicious turner of the ball but has thrived in the shorter formats, where he troubles batsmen with his clever changes of pace. Tasmania have enjoyed one-day success by using Doherty in tandem with Jason Krejza, and he said the arrival of Krejza in Hobart four seasons ago had given him a serious jolt.

"It was a bit of a kick up the bum when he came down to Tasmania, because I was the main spinner and all of a sudden I was straight out of there," Doherty said. "Having that competition for the spot has definitely made me a better cricketer."

It must have been good for both men, as they have each received approval from the national selectors since Krejza's move. Doherty could get a few more calls judging by the words of Hilditch, who said Australia would aim to take two spinners to the World Cup and a left-armer would be ideal.

"That would be pretty exciting to hear but there's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then," Doherty said. "That's late February, so there's quite a bit of cricket going on now. If that opportunity pops up that would be great, but it's a long way away."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by Deepakskipper on (October 29, 2010, 7:08 GMT)

Xavier, 'X' as he is fondly called, has been one man whom I always believed will make the cut of Aussie OD atleast. The call is indeed a much due one in my eyes. He has been a consistent contributor towards Tigers successful campaign in last year FR cup and the season prvs to that too he was the highest wicket taker in ODD league. Have infact spend some time with him when he was playing in Dutch league 2 seasons back and the guy is awesome, be it with his wily quicker ones or his occassional flighted ones which get subtle drfit. Infact once playing in Dutch ODD league, in the semis, the opposition needed 2 runs to win in last over with 3 wkts left. His sequence in last over read .,1,w,w,w and buoy he was as cool as it gets during those 5 deliveries. He is a devoted cricketer, who works damn hard on his skills and is a superb person to boot. Good Luck 'X' and hoping to see you in India in this world cup Aussie squad..../Deepak

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 17:57 GMT)

Judging by the way he bowled against Victoria gives us an impression that he could be a good prospect for the Australian cricket team in the near future . A left arm tweaker besides being a decent batsman not only adds to the stability of the team but also brings in variety.But we will have to wait and watch his performance against srilanka in the forthcoming series should he picked ahead of Steven Smith .

Posted by stuartk319 on (October 27, 2010, 9:24 GMT)

Those having a shot at Doherty clearly haven't watched him bowl in Australia's domestic one day competition. He's been clearly the best spinner there for 3 seasons and deserves his call-up. Save the shots for the selectors for giving so many spinners 0-3 games and then dumping them.

Posted by soorajiyer on (October 27, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

I've always wondered why this guy has not been taken before! Clever change of pace and flight.. Very good ODI bowler..

Posted by Stevie_Lematt on (October 27, 2010, 2:41 GMT)

Victorian-Roo: maybe the selectors should replace Hilfenhaus with Denton and Paine with Wade...oh hang on a minute they're Tasmanians too!! Honestly, Victorian-Roo, how many Victorians have represented Australia over the years? Compare that to the number of Tasmanians and I think you'll find you're way ahead! Victoria may be the sporting capital of the world, but if your cricketers aren't good enough at the moment, well....that's just how it is, get over it! Doesn't matter *where* they come from, if they're good enough, give'em a go. If I was a Victorian I'd be embarrassed by your comments

Posted by TimmyF_23 on (October 27, 2010, 1:26 GMT)

Good too see him get a call up. His the best limited overs spinner in domestic cricket and has been the last 2 years. All you guys like @Sai Prasad commenting on his first class record, he hasnt been picked for test matches so i have no idea why you are referring to that record. He has been selected for limited overs formats and if you bother to look at that record, its really good and you will see why he has been selected.

Posted by Dashgar on (October 27, 2010, 0:29 GMT)

people who are looking at Dohertys stats and questioning his first class average need to understand that he hasn't played much first class cricket over the last few years when he has been bowling at his best. You can't pick a team based on stats alone, you pick a team on performance. Doherty has been the best limited overs spinner in Australia for a while and he just got a first class five for against a very strong Victorian side (Ben Hilfenhaus couldn't manage 1 wicket). He deserves this promotion, good luck to him.

Posted by gimc_tas on (October 26, 2010, 23:39 GMT)

Doherty has been selected for ODIs, not Tests. For List A matches (limited overs), he has 103 wkts at 28.91 (rpo: 4.6). This season (in Ryobi Cup) he has 7 wkts at 12.42 (rpo: 3.48). Last year in Ford Ranger Cup, he topped the wkt table with 20 wkts at 20.35 (rpo: 4.56). He deserves selection.

Last year, after a poor Krejza Sheffield Shield season, he played the last 3 Shield matches taking 12 wkts at 24.25. Perhaps he should be considered for Tests - he would be guaranteed the wkt of Kevin Pietersen!

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2010, 23:01 GMT)

@Alex Mikaelian - interesting selections, although I would not go with Marsh, I think he is overrated, I would partner Watson with either Haddin or White. I was assuming you weren't talking about Mitchell Marsh, who I would like to see get a go. Also I would select Brett Lee for ODI duties for several reasons; 1. He was (& maybe still is), the best strike bowler in the History of ODIs, 2. Having Lee playing would take the pressure of the bowling rotation & save our best bowlers for Test duties - look at our injury list - Siddle, Harris, Hazlewood, Bollinger & Bracken. @Gilly4ever - no way! Hauritz will do well this series, but Doherty would be too big a gamble, besides Krezja deserves the next shot, & I would even consider the One Test Disaster from VIC who bowls leg spin before Doherty for this series. I am excited by Doherty's ODI selection though.

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2010, 22:53 GMT)

@contrast_swing - he has been selected for an ODI - not a Test match, first class statistics mean nothing in this case, plenty examples of good ODI bowlers who weren't good at Test/First class level, Peter Taylor & Hogg to name a few. @cricketaddict000 - I am glad Doherty has gotten a go, but O'Keefe has better potential, I don't know how O'Keefe will turn out as a First Class or Test cricketer - but he is massively suited to Limited Over cricket & should be in 20/20 & 50/50 squads. @Krik.lover - Hauritz was always going to cop it in the post Warne/MacGill era, however I think by and large he has done well for Australia, particularly in ODIs. I agree though it is exciting to see some blooding by the selectors. @SeaforthA1 - agreed 100%. @Sameer Umralkar - agreed 100%. @Victorian Roo - LOL! The original T20 squad selected contained only Vics & NSW, so I have no problems with a Tassie guy getting a go - they have performed well domestically for a while now.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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