Australia news

Spin focus at pre-season camp

Daniel Brettig

August 7, 2012

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Steve O'Keefe bowls in the nets during a training session in Pallekele, August 4, 2011
Steve O'Keefe is one of eight spin bowlers going to Darwin to help prepare Australia for a series of spin-heavy assignments © AFP

No fewer than eight spin bowlers have been rounded up to take part in Australia's pre-season camp in Darwin from Wednesday, ahead of trips to the UAE, Sri Lanka and India over the coming year.

Nathan Hauritz, Jason Krejza, Michael Beer, Cameron Boyce and Steve O'Keefe will join those slow bowlers already selected for the matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan, which include Xavier Doherty, Brad Hogg and the Victorian allrounder Glenn Maxwell. Nathan Lyon and Jon Holland are absent due to the concurrent Australia A tour of England.

The national team's planners have also spent time in discussion with the Marrara Oval curator John Furner, directing him to prepare training surfaces as similar as possible to those expected in the UAE and Sri Lanka.

Beyond the home summer lies a four-Test series in India, and the national selectors are also thought to be keen to assess their options apart from Lyon.

"We've got a couple of important series coming up, in the UAE against Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September and after a disappointing series in England recently we feel this is a great opportunity to really put in some good preparation ahead of our next tours," the Australia coach Mickey Arthur said.

"We're expecting dry, turning and slower pitches in the UAE and also in Sri Lanka so we have a real spin-bowling focus on the next week in Darwin with both our training and matches

"The Marrara Oval curator is preparing net and centre wicket conditions similar to those we're going to face in the UAE and in Sri Lanka so our spin bowlers can get some good practice in, while our batsmen can also get accustomed to playing in those conditions."

The young New South Wales batsman Nic Maddinson is another notable invitee to the camp from outside the list of CA contracted players, while Mitch Marsh has also been included following his dumping from the Centre of Excellence last month for disciplinary reasons.

Camp participants

CA contracted and UAE tour squad: George Bailey, Dan Christian, Michael Clarke, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White

Non-CA contracted: Michael Beer, Cameron Boyce, Nathan Hauritz, Jason Krejza, Nic Maddinson, Stephen O'Keefe, Mitch Marsh

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

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Posted by Auscricketfan on (August 10, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

This is a great idea considering we have a test series in India, the One day tour in the UAE and the T20 world cup, but i could never understand the decsion to drop Nathan Hauritz before the 1st test against the Poms in the last ashes series i mean come on he was the most consitent spin bowler we had in Test n ODIs and on top of that he started devloping into a more than capable lower order batsmen, he didnt do that bad against India in the short test series b4 the ashes which was his come back from injury as well so another exmaple of the inconsintecy we have with slow bowlers but in sayin that Nathan Lyon has done more than a good job since taking over as No1 spinner but i still think Haurtiz should be our No2 spinner he is better than Michael Beer who isnt ready for International cricket as our No1 or 2 spin bowler

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 9, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

It does seem rather odd to hold a spin camp when your #1 Test spinner, who is still relatively inexperienced, is unavailable. Maybe it wasn't possible to avoid the schedule clash but you'd hope that they tried at least.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 8, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

Australia are a completely irrelevant side these days. A spin camp certainly won't help them. There for the taking by almost any international test side, they remain an average, middle-ranked and frankly boring team.

Posted by jezzastyles on (August 8, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

@smudgeon - flying in retired subcontinent batsmen to prepare our young spiiners - at first I nearly laughed, but then it struck me - bloody great idea. Because if there's one thing we're used to seeing in IND, its our spinners getting hammered all over the park. Don't know about the cost factor, but maybe the next Batting Coach (how long has Langer got left on his contract) should be a retired subcontinent batsmen?? If we can harness the full strength of our bowling resources for the next Ashes series, the Pommy batting lineup will be tested near to breaking.

Posted by Chris_P on (August 8, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy. Yes, all very amusing, but where were you after South Africa handed you your you-know-what after the first test? What was it again, 318.5 runs per wicket vs. 20 runs per wicket? Ah yes, stats you would want your team to be performing and backing up your statements. Well done!

Posted by smudgeon on (August 7, 2012, 21:29 GMT)

what about Greg Ritchie? oh, hang on, this isn't just a forum for listing our favourite players, is it?

Posted by sk12 on (August 7, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

wow the seam position looks perfect in the photo..

Posted by Beertjie on (August 7, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

@jeauxx, a good wish,but mine is for Boyce to develop as quickly into a potential match winner (I know this takes time!). If you're right, SO'K's improvement could permit us picking 4 out and out quicks (one a left-armer). Hope he gets a go!

Posted by Chuckworth on (August 7, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

What about Steven Smith?

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

@Gordo85 How does Cullen Bailey being your favourite state player make him worthy of being part of this camp?

Posted by hyped on (August 7, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

nathan hauritz sholud be promoted...

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

what about shaun marsh????

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

Looking forward to this summer's season of cricket. lets hope that the likes of O'keefe, both marsh's, cutting, boyce, all the young quicks all stay fit and healthy and keep improving their games. hopefully Khawaja and co who have moved states will take their games to the next level. i will have my bulls season membership and will follow all the young state players around australia. I dont think we are that far away from competing for the top position in world cricket again. maybe another 2 years and we will be there, only if the Khawaja's, Burns, Lynn's, Marsh, Maddinson, hughes all become prolific run scorers in 1st class cricket like the Hayden's, langer's, Lehmann's, Love's, Law and co did 15 years ago.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 7, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Good work in doing this. Can we please leave Langer behind though. Surely it's time to give Justin the flick?

Posted by tanstell87 on (August 7, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

this wont help Australia....they are an ordinary team who are going to blown away in Sri Lanka & in England next year

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 7, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

Australia need a miracle! There massive lack of talent wont be fixed by going on camp, shoving a sausage on a stick and whistling cumbaya.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 7, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Obviously everyone knows the aussys have a massive lack of talent in all departments, and after reading those names you've also just given me a great laugh. Thanks.

Posted by Gordo85 on (August 7, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

This is flat out shocking to be honest. No mention of Cullen Bailey at all who is one of my favourite players at state level. What does this show or say about Cricket Australia. It is very concerning indeed.

Posted by kirangupta on (August 7, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Good to see Boyce and Marsh in there.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 7, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

nice. on paper one cant see australia losing a game in the world twenty20 if they all play well and as a unit

Posted by jeauxx on (August 7, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

If I could have one wish for the next 2-3 years of Australian cricket, it would be for Stephen O'Keefe to live up to his statistics. If he could transfer numbers of 28 (bowling average) and 34 (batting average) to Test level Australia would be a much more comfortable side.

Posted by smudgeon on (August 7, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

good thinking! a lot of people have been saying this for years - train (or, better, compete) in the top end to get experience in conditions similar to the subcontinent. i wonder whether there'd be any thought giving to flying in a few retired sub-continental batsmen to also give our tweakers an idea on how to bowl to players very adept at spin. conditions are one thing - out-thinking a batsman who knows spinners inside-out is another thing altogether. still, this is a very positive move, and i am looking forward to seeing whether it pays off. hopefully Lyon and Holland can make it back for the tail end of the camp. oh, just noticed Hoggy is in the group too! man, his comeback is such a feelgood story. i hope he's there not only to pass on his immense knowledge and skill to the next gen spinners, but also because he is in the selectors' reckoning beyond the T20 cup. (if he can teach one young wristie how to do that flipper, he'll have done more than enough!)

Posted by maddinson on (August 7, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

few very good inclusions in Mitch Marsh and Maddinson, both are highly talented and capable to serve Cricket Australia for a substantial duration in all 3 formats.

Posted by Meety on (August 7, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

I see a fair bit of value in that. Good iniative.

Posted by Ben1989 on (August 7, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

a very good idea by the coaches etc. things like this should've been occuring a long time ago to prepare by the time Warney retired, but obviously no one realised how important a good spinner is to a test team, hard to reach number 1 without a good slow bowler who can take wickets and/or dry up the runs, Lyon is getting there & hopefully the tour he's currently on helps, otherwise Holland is certainly looking the goods or even Boyce

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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