Australia v Sri Lanka 2010-11 October 26, 2010

Hauritz heads for the scenic route


Even when Nathan Hauritz is being helped it feels like he's getting hurt. After his struggles in India he needs lots of overs in home comforts. It's easy to think he'll get that when he plays for New South Wales against Queensland in the Sheffield Shield from Sunday. Except the game is at the Gabba.

For Shield matches the ground is often a place where state spin bowlers operate as waiters for the fast men. If that happens to Hauritz he'll be wishing he's with the one-day squad, where he's almost guaranteed 60 balls a game, instead of waiting to join it for the final two matches of the Sri Lanka series.

Brisbane, of course, is the venue for the first Ashes Test so if he gets a decent chance he can attempt to persuade the selectors that four fast men plus Marcus North's offspin is not the way to go against England. It's a big if. Steve O'Keefe is doing well for the Blues and last summer the Gabba hosted a total of 200 overs of spin in five Shield encounters. In three of those games all the slow men from both sides combined for fewer than 27 overs.

Hauritz's first-class appointment also allows an international trial for Xavier Doherty, a teasing left-arm orthodox from Tasmania. Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, wants to take two spinners to the subcontinent for the World Cup early next year and thinks someone of Doherty's style would be ideal. Which makes it strange that Doherty wasn't on the just finished trip to India.

Doherty is suddenly a contender for the World Cup and Hauritz's spot, while Steve Smith, the batsman-legspinner, is also in the one-day squad. Despite the rise of the fresh men, the shuffling of Hauritz seems unhelpful, especially as he is a player who requires more support than a typical international.

Still, juggling the demands of the players so close to the Ashes is tricky. The Test batsmen Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke will be involved in the limited-overs campaign, while Marcus North captains Western Australia and Simon Katich hopes to recover from a broken thumb.

Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle will warm-up for the main event with short one-day spells next week; Ben Hilfenhaus is not involved in the series but is currently playing alongside Doherty at the MCG. Doug Bollinger will use the time to recover from the stomach injury that stopped him during the first Test against India.

The allrounder Watson said it was important for all the members of the attack to get some decent overs in before the Ashes. "As a bowler the best way to get into a good groove is to be out there in the middle," he told ESPNcricinfo. "No matter how much training you do, it's never the same as getting out there. It's a perfect preparation for all the bowlers to be able to get out there."

Watson is happy with the schedule after being rested from the one-day segment of the India tour, along with Ponting and Johnson. "In the end it's what we've got in front of us," he said. "It's not a bad thing at all to be playing these [one-day] games." When the first one is on Hauritz will be with his state side at the Gabba.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 31, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    @Neil -

    I couldn't agree more. Hilditch has been the worst thing to happen to Australian cricket in recent memory.

  • Dummy4 on October 31, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    @Neil -

    I couldn't agree more. Hilditch has been the worst thing to happen to Australian cricket in recent memory.

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    @Richard and Sai...Doherty's one-day stats are very good, and his recent form in the shorter versions over the last few seasons has been excellent. You don't need a good first class average to be a good spinner in the shorter forms, because they require different styles of bowling. Look at Brad Hogg. His test and first class average were 54 and 40, yet for a time he was invaluable to the Aussie team and was one of the best ODI spinners in the world and ended with an average in the mid 20s. So first class stats can mean little. Doherty is an excellent limited overs bowler and should do reasonably well I think.

  • Tim on October 27, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    Steve O'Keefe is the ONLY spinner in australia who is not retired and averages below 40 in FCC. Case closed.

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    Aussies have started to Think like English in 1990s. Knee jerk reactions, Chopping, changing and more players being handed an Aussie cap than ever before. I guess finally Aussies are themselves getting mentally disintegrated. Even Shane Warne was smothered in India. Cant be too harsh on poor Hauritz.

  • Dummy4 on October 27, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    Gah! We need a new selection panel. This habit of blooding a new spinner every bloody series has to stop. We do NOT have an international quality spinner, only a bunch of also rans. DO NOT include them in the team. They offer nothing. Doherty averages over 50. This is not an international quality bowler. He's barely good enough to play for his state.

  • Craig on October 27, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    "X" has been picked based on his One Day record....nothing to do with First Class. Poeple that fail to compare these two lots of statistics obviously have very little knowledge of the game! It is an overdue and informed decision (and hopefully successful), to test Doherty at a higher level.

  • Adrian on October 27, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    Doherty fully deserves his chance and if he does well enough he may be the man for the Ashes. This helps Australia, to have possibly 4 players (also Smith and O'Keefe) all going for the spinners spot. This should say to Hauritz that his spot is not guaranteed: he will need to start performing. If this doesn't give Hauritz a big enough kick up the backside to start performing, then he should be dumped. Doherty is the top spinner in the country right now so deserves a test place as well.

  • Jim on October 27, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    Think about what you are saying folks, you are having a go at Doherty's selection in a ONE DAY TEAM based on his FOUR DAY bowling average. Doherty was the leading wicket taker in the Australian one-day comp last year, he has come a long way in the last 3 years in that form of the game. Very economical one day and T20 bowler and is starting to take a lot more wickets now. He rarely plays four day cricket because Jason Krejza has been preferred, but judging by his five-for yesterday against Victoria that has now changed.

  • Shane on October 27, 2010, 0:42 GMT

    Seriously, have a read of Doherty's stats. Yes his First Class avg is over 50 but his one-day average is sub 30 and he racked up a whopping 20 domestic OD wickets last year. Are you that thick?

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