Australia news January 25, 2013

Bailey predicts Indian duty for Doherty


Whatever the format, whatever the venue, it is clear George Bailey believes in Xavier Doherty. Occasionally, as in the final over of the West Indies innings during last year's World Twenty20 semi-final in Colombo, that belief has seemed extreme, but there is something to be said for a captain willing to give his spin bowler a chance.

Following the unfortunately timed shoulder injury to befall Michael Beer, Doherty's place as Australia's lead limited-overs spin bowler may soon be augmented by a place on the looming Test tour to India, a long-awaited moment for the left-armer to atone for an ordinary showing at the first time of asking, during the last Ashes series.

Most of Bailey's domestic cricket for Tasmania has been played alongside Doherty, and he knew well the sense of emptiness the bowler felt when he was tossed into and then out of Test matches with three wickets at a cost of more than 100 runs apiece after two appearances in 2010. For now Bailey is glad to have Doherty at his disposal in the two Twenty20 matches against Sri Lanka, but he is also hopeful of seeing him bowling on the subcontinent in February.

"I've got no doubt he'd like to have another crack at Test cricket," Bailey said. "I don't think he was particularly happy with how he bowled in that situation. The circumstances weren't great for him either, so he'd be looking to another opportunity to rectify that and prove a lot of people wrong. He's a good age for a spinner in terms of not getting too flustered if things don't go his way, he's pretty confident in his own game and got a good knowledge of where he's at."

In recent times Doherty's best role has been as a foil for Tasmania's seam and swing bowlers, bottling up an end or frustrating batsmen into error on Bellerive Oval surfaces that have seldom offered him as much assistance. The Sydney Olympic Stadium pitch is likely to be a slow one, offering Doherty the chance to demonstrate the unflappability that Bailey admires.

"What I see in him is someone who's very settled," Bailey said. "There's times in the Tassie Shield side when playing at Bellerive where he's had to change the way he's had to bowl. There's wickets where he can be quite attacking and wickets where he has to be a little more defensive. "I think he's worked that into his game. He can sum situations up pretty quickly, depending on whether the batsmen are coming hard or if it's X's turn to push for wickets."

Doherty and Bailey are two players in the curious position of auditioning for places on the India Test tour via T20 matches. Given that the World T20 was only recently decided and the next event in Bangladesh is still two years away, the players selected will have differing goals. The likes of Shaun Marsh, Ben Laughlin and Adam Voges will seek to resurrect international careers that had seemed over or close to it, while Glenn Maxwell is in search of at least one display of substance.

"It's a little bit of a transition period, but having said that I think some of the newer players are still very experienced with games under their belt and their ages and whatnot, so we're having a look at some players," Bailey said. "But in terms of the balance of the side it is pretty similar to what we were starting to get together from just prior to the World T20. Not a bad result there in terms of where we got to in those conditions.

"I certainly think we are still underachieving in T20 cricket, more so than any of the other formats. There's no reason why with the players we have, the depth we have that we shouldn't have a side that are consistently in the top couple teams in the world."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bhaskar on January 26, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    I think Hauritz was the best spinner after Warne & Mc Gill retired but now the selectors seem to collect tid-bit spinners just for the sake of adding spinners in the playing 11. Lyon is okay but you need atleast 1 or 2 more to be in the playing 11. Jason Krejza seems to have gone off selector's radar altogether.

  • Harmon on January 26, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    Hi everyone, sorry if I seem a bit out of sync here but what happened to Hauritz and where is he at the moment in the order of spinners? And my tune perhaps goes even more jarring but where is Krejza? He looks to be the one spinner among all these who could actually spin the ball and quite a bit at times.

    I really do not think Doherty is all that good that he can play a test, sorry but that is how it seems to me. In ODIs he has his role but tests may be beyond him. As for Beer, might be a good idea for the evenings :-p, have never seen him bowl so can't say much.

    Although the common advice is to pick horses for courses and so if the Indian wickets suit spinners then Aus should play spinner(s), but what if they aren't that good? Eng won in Ind cos Monty bowled very well and it gave them some spine to stand on. What is his strength? Strong man with BIG hands which can give the ball heavy revolutions even at relatively high speed at an angle to RHB.

    Aus got any like him? Krejza?

  • Sachit on January 26, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Agreed with Eightfa. Steve O'Keefe deserves better chance ahead of Doherty for tour India. With a kind of role played by Swann and Panesar in recently concluded test series between India and England, it's very clear that spinners would have big responsibility to bear and CA selectors can't afford to error with selection of spinners for the tour. Nathan Lyon's position also to be contemplated very sincerely. With his existing records and skills, he does not like intimidating Indian batting on Indian soil.

  • Chris on January 26, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Surely sok has to be picked for India the Australian selection panel has stated form counts Okeefe is the only spinner in Australia with an average under 30 it's around the 27 28 mark. Cricket is a game of numbers they do not lie. He also has a great competitive spirit

  • wayne on January 26, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    Okay, as much as I like Xavier (he's alright, you know), I think the debate about the second spinner for India is probably about to be closed: SoK has 8 wickets so far in the current Shield match, and I think his legions of fans will start crowing any second now :) FWIW, I haven't been able to figure why he hasn't been near the test side before either, and I hope if he is picked (and why not?), he makes the best of his opportunity.

  • rob on January 26, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    I've got nothing against X. In fact,. I quite like him in the ODI side, but I'd go with O'Keefe. Why the hell not. Give the lad a crack at the big time I reckon. He'd have to play pretty badly to do worse than some of the no-hopers that have been given a shot in the last 5 or 6 years.

  • Mick on January 26, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    @Gilly4ever: I saw someone make a similar comment during the match commentary the other day. I'm still scratching my head how SCG's ripping leg breaks in any way resemble Doherty's barely turning left arm finger spin. With our bare cupboard of spinners I don't deny he's in the mix for India. But that comparison seems a fair disservice to Macgilla.

  • Sean on January 25, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    I think bowling underarm would get more wickets than doherty & lyon. If you need any tips just ask chappell.

  • Francis on January 25, 2013, 22:52 GMT

    Viv Gilchrist is correct. Doherty has 119 wickets from 51 games at an average of 45. He's played more than 11 years. He's not, all of a sudden, going to turn into Derek Underwood. It should be obvious to Bailey & the selectors that he's only a 50 over bowler.

  • Alex on January 25, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    He may dream of playing tests again but Doherty has no chance. I would be a better spin option in India than him.

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