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January 15, 2007
Damien Fleming, who helped swing Australia to the 1999 trophy, believes Ben Hilfenhaus is a "natural" one-day bowler and should be considered for the World Cup in the West Indies. Hilfenhaus opened with Nathan Bracken on debut in Hobart on Sunday and impressed in his first spell before picking up 1 for 26 off seven overs.
Fleming said Hilfenhaus, 23, was the "real deal" and he "ticks a lot of the selection-criteria boxes". "Ideally, the selectors would like to have a right-arm outswing bowler in every squad," Fleming told The Australian. "He's a natural for one-day cricket because, firstly, he's accurate.
"Secondly, he swings the ball so he becomes a wicket-taking option. And thirdly, he bowls a quicker bouncer and yorker so there's not too much he needs to learn." Australia's selectors expect to take five fast men to the World Cup and they currently have plenty of choice with Mitchell Johnson performing well alongside Nathan Bracken.
Hilfenhaus discovered 90 minutes before the start of the game that he would replace Glenn McGrath, who had groin soreness. "It has definitely been a fast ride for me," Hilfenhaus said in the Hobart Mercury. "I might wake up one day and I will be back to reality."
Starting with a maiden, Hilfenhaus grabbed his opening wicket with the final delivery of his second over when he trapped Brendon McCullum lbw with a ball that went straight instead of moving away. "I was very pleased to get the first one out of the way," he said. "It was a good feeling when you see the finger going up." He also finished the 105-run win by taking the final catch.
Hilfenhaus, who grew up in Ulverston in northern Tasmania, worked as a bricklayer before making his state debut last season. He is only the second Tasmanian fast bowler to play for Australia after Greg Campbell, who is Ricky Ponting's uncle, but he is unlikely to appear in Brisbane when Australia face England on Friday. McGrath's injury is not serious and Brett Lee could return after suffering a chest infection.
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