Nicholson back 'home' to take wickets
New NSW paceman Matthew Nicholson is relishing a change of role from stock to shock bowler as he prepares to lock horns with his former state for the first time in tomorrow's ING Cup cricket clash with Western Australia at North Sydney oval.
The Sydney-born speedster returned to the state of his birth after seven seasons in the west.
Nicholson, who has played one Test for Australia, played just 10 one-day matches for the Warriors, taking only four wickets at an average of 71.75.
He almost equalled that wicket haul in his first match for the Blues last week, taking 3-60 from nine overs in the Blues' seven-wicket win over Victoria in Bowral.
Nicholson said he had noticed a change in the way he had been used by NSW captain Steve Waugh as opposed to his time with WA.
"In the west, they were probably trying to make a stock bowler, make me someone who bowls a bit of line and length and that probably isn't my natural game," Nicholson said.
"My natural game is to try and take wickets and bowl fast, which is much more enjoyable for me. I think Stephen (Waugh) is looking to accentuate my natural game."
Nicholson said he had not had any greater input into the NSW game plan for this week, even though he had knowledge of the smattering of youngsters in the WA squad.
"I know their players reasonably well, so there's not too many excuses for bowling bad balls to those blokes," Nicholson said.
WA captain Justin Langer acknowledged Nicholson was probably better value as a strike bowler and described his loss along with that of Simon Katich to NSW as "huge" for Western Australian cricket.
Like NSW, WA started its ING Cup campaign with a win and Langer said the Warriors' new-look lineup had a number of youngsters who were adding enthusiasm.
"They (NSW) are the No.1 side in Australia at the moment, so this game is a good benchmark and test for us to see where we are," Langer said.
While some people in his native state questioned his Test position after a lean series against Zimbabwe, Langer said he was feeling fresh and looking forward to kick starting his season this weekend.
"I haven't made a lot of runs so far, I feel a bit short, but I've only played a couple of games in six months really, so it's taking a bit of time," Langer said.
Veteran paceman Jo Angel was in a little doubt for tomorrow's match with a niggling injury.
The teams are:
NSW: Stephen Waugh (captain), Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Phil Jaques, Simon Katich, Aaron O'Brien, Don Nash, Matthew Nicholson, Michael Slater, Dominic Thornely, Mark Waugh.
WA: Justin Langer (captain), Jo Angel, Ryan Campbell, Beau Casson, Murray Goodwin, Michael Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Marcus North, Chris Rogers, John Taylor, Michael Thistle, Callum Thorp, Peter Worthington. (2 to be omitted).