February 8, 2001

Kaspa earns Indian reward

MELBOURNE - Queensland fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz was today rewarded for his lion-hearted performances on Australia's last tour of India, securing a berth in the squad of 14 that departs for the sub-continent on Tuesday.

Kasprowicz joins Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Damien Fleming in a powerful four-pronged pace attack, winning his place in the absence of the injured Brett Lee.

Australia will take two spinners, the Victorian pair of leg spinner Shane Warne and off spinner Colin Miller.

New South Wales leggie Stuart MacGill was left out, despite the crucial role he played in the 5-0 whitewash of the West Indies in this summer's Test series in the absence of the injured Warne.

The remainder of the squad was predictable with the current top six batsman all keeping their places while Damien Martyn maintains his spot as the reserve batsman.

Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist was the only wicketkeeper named as Australia resisted the temptation to name two keepers on what is the most arduous of all cricket tours.

That is a fact that Kasprowicz knows only too well after he bowled himself to the point of exhaustion on the 1997-98 tour.

Mike Kasprowicz
Mike Kasprowicz
Photo Action Photographics

Kasprowicz was forced to carry the attack after McGrath and Gillespie didn't tour due to injury, Paul Wilson and Paul Reiffel broke down during the tour and Warne was bowling with a wrecked shoulder.

He lost eight kilos from bowling continual long spells in the 40 degree heat and 90 percent humidity but heroically bowled Australia to victory in the final Test in Bangalore after India had already clinched the series with wins in Chennai and Calcutta.

In that match he took 5-28 as he finally mastered the art of reverse swing after struggling to produce that crucial quality needed to take wickets on the slow Indian wickets earlier in the series.

Despite his difficulties in India last time, Kasprowicz has no qualms about another tour to the sub-continent.

"At one stage I thought `if you're going to keel over, it may as well be out there playing for your country'," Kasprowicz said.

"Your health is the big thing over there as far as being able to get on the park and do your best.

"It's tough, but I'd play in the Antarctic if it meant playing for Australia."

Kasprowicz beat the likes of teammate Andy Bichel and inexperienced Blues' pair Don Nash and Nathan Bracken to the final bowling spot in the line-up after Lee was ruled out of the series with an elbow injury.

The squad for the five match one day series, which follows the Test series, will not be named until next month.

The squad is: Steve Waugh (c), Adam Gilchrist (vc), Damien Fleming, Jason Gillespie, Matthew Hayden, Michael Kasprowicz, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Colin Miller, Ricky Ponting, Michael Slater, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh.