Martyn's withdrawal opens space for new face December 8, 2006

Voges looks over his shoulder for call-up

Adam Voges has had a strong start to the season for Western Australia © Getty Images
A tap on the shoulder while fielding on the boundary's edge at Lilac Hill today was the first that Adam Voges knew of his surprise call-up to the Australian squad, for Thursday's third Test against England at the WACA.

Voges, 27, a hard-hitting Western Australia batsman and part-time chinaman bowler, was the surprise pick in Australia's 13-man squad, following the unexpected retirement of Damien Martyn. He duly celebrated with an impressive 71 as the CA Chairman's XI overwhelmed their English counterparts by seven wickets.

"It's not quite sunk in," said Voges. "To play a hometown Test at the WACA has been my boyhood dream. Obviously Andrew Symonds is in the 13 as well so I'll just have to wait and see, but it would be amazing if it did come true."

Voges has enjoyed a fine start to the season with Western Australia, scoring two centuries and 320 runs at an average of 160 in his three matches, and Justin Langer, his state captain, described his selection as "outstanding".

"I always thought it was only a matter of time before he played cricket for Australia, either one-day internationals or Tests," said Langer, "and it's nice with the opportunity that has come up that he's been selected.

"I think it's a very astute selection," added Langer. "You pick character over cover-drives, and this bloke's got a character. There are a lot of young blokes around who are very talented and can play all the shots in the world, but he is just a very strong character, a terrific young bloke with an outstanding work ethic, and he displays a lot of leadership traits."

Even if Langer did think his team-mate was in the frame for selection, Voges was completely taken aback. "I only learnt half an hour ago while fielding," he said. "Tony Dodemaide tapped me on the shoulder and he said: 'Come with me. You're being substituted'. I thought I was in trouble. But instead I had a phone call saying I was in the 13. It's all happened pretty quickly, and it's been pretty amazing."

Voges holds the record for the fastest century in Australian domestic one-dayers, from 62 balls in 2004-05, but he insisted there was more to his game than big shots. "Over the past couple of years I was a bloke with a fairly attacking style of game," he said, "but a winter over at the Commonwealth Bank Centre of Excellence tightened my technique, and hopefully I've got a reasonable game."

Voges was as taken aback as most of Australia by the news of Martyn's retirement, and the first he heard of it was an announcement over the PA system at Lilac Hill, shortly before Dodemaide came looking for him. "I played a fair bit with Marto at WA," he said. "He's been a fantastic player, a legend of the game, and he played a big part in my development. Obviously it's a shame his career has come to an end, but it's definitely an opportunity for me."

Ironically, Voges was dropped by Western Australia only last month against Queensland, to accommodate the return of their Australian international players. "When you get Martyn, Gilchrist, Langer and Hussey all in one side, you can't complain," he said. "It was only for one game and if Marto hadn't retired this opportunity wouldn't have been here."

Andrew Hilditch, Australia's chairman of selectors, said: "We are excited to give Adam this opportunity to join the squad. He is an outstanding young player and his inclusion in the squad is a just reward for his efforts to date."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo