ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Australia v NZ, Group A, World Cup 2011, Nagpur

Ponting hopes Krejza can relive debut heroics

Brydon Coverdale in Nagpur

February 24, 2011

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Jason Krejza has spent more than two years in the cricket wilderness, so it's no surprise that he is loving every minute of his return to the top level. And if he was excited just to get the World Cup call-up, imagine how he has felt over the past few days as he prepared to return to Nagpur, the venue of debut Test, when he picked up 12 wickets, for Friday's clash against New Zealand.

"He's been pretty excited about coming back," Ricky Ponting said on Thursday afternoon, before the Australians hit the nets. "He wanted to come down and train early this morning, to tell you the truth, and we had to hold him back."

It was in November 2008 that offspinner Krejza made one of the most memorable debuts in recent history, when he collected 8 for 215 in the first innings against India, and another four wickets in the second. But the axe came after he failed to stem the runs against South Africa in his second Test, in Perth, the following month, and since then he has been in and out of the Tasmania side.

But now Krejza has reinvented himself as an ODI bowler; still a wicket-taker, but one who can play a defensive role when necessary. His chance came because of injuries to Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty and Steve O'Keefe, and after a nervy debut against England in Perth, he has started to find his rhythm.

Against Zimbabwe, in Australia's opening game of the World Cup, he built on the good work of the fast men and collected 2 for 28 from his eight overs, and he will play an important role throughout the rest of the campaign. Ponting hopes that a confident return to Nagpur on Friday could kickstart a strong tournament for Krejza, who will share the spin duties with Steve Smith and the part-timers.

"To have that feeling, to know the venue and know the wicket conditions really well will definitely help him," Ponting said. "I think in all honesty, every game he's played on the tour, he's improved and got better. The first two practice games and then the hit-out against Zimbabwe, I think he bowled particularly well.

"He's a wicket-taker, we know that. He puts a lot of revs on the ball, he spins the ball and at different times, with conditions looking like they have so far, there are not many wickets that haven't spun during this tournament, and he could be a really important player for us as this tournament progresses."

Adding to the importance of spin in the match against New Zealand is the early start, with a 9.30 am (local) opening so that fans in Australia and New Zealand can watch it at a reasonable hour. That means that dew shouldn't be an issue.

"There's been a lot of talk about dew being a major factor but with it being a day game, it shouldn't be much of a factor so it should make the contest a bit more even and fairer," Ponting said. "Big scores have been made here and that indicates it's a very good batting wicket; even the game here played the other night, there were a lot of runs and the wicket seemed to hold together very well and didn't change much during the course of the game."

As well as hoping for a strong performance from their own slow bowlers, the Australians must ensure they handle New Zealand's spinners with aplomb, after struggling against Ray Price and his colleagues on Monday. Nathan McCullum is likely to open the bowling, while Daniel Vettori also practised with the new ball in the nets on Thursday, and Ponting said his men were ready for the challenge.

"We've had a good talk about that this morning. I think they might do that; we think it might be McCullum that might do it," he said. "We're also prepared for Vettori, and Price opened the bowling the other day for Zimbabwe and did a good job against the right-handers, so there's also that option there for New Zealand if that's the way they want to go. We'll be well prepared."

The Australians arrived in Nagpur on Wednesday night, after staying on for an extra couple of days in Ahmedabad after their opening game. The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will also be up for grabs on Friday, while the players will wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence before the game in tribute to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 22 
Posted by Meety on (February 25, 2011, 11:08 GMT)

Sorry to say our lil bro's from across the ditch got hammered!

Posted by MCSD on (February 25, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

I have strong feeling we areq in for our first surprise. New Zealand is the perfect team that can end this streak of Australia! All is going according to plan so far they have the toss and batting first... Australia will have their hands full against the like Nathum McCullan and Daniel Vettorie. Also don't forget Scot Styrus and his medium slow off breaks he could be difference maker! If New Zealand score anything above 250 they should have the match by the palms! Jessie Ryder and Ross Taylor can do just that and perhaps even beyond that...

Posted by patanjali on (February 25, 2011, 3:37 GMT)

Kreza is the only weak bowler in this powerful australian bowling attack.If lee and co fails to deliver then there will be huge pressure on kreza which i think he is not capable of handling it.

Posted by IMObserver on (February 25, 2011, 1:52 GMT)

Be careful what you ask for! If the pitch suites Krejza Aussies may suffer more at the hands of Daniel Vettori.

Posted by Nampally on (February 25, 2011, 1:36 GMT)

Krejza goes hot & cold in Pontings ratings. Some times he pushes Krejza and other time he pushes Smith. But most of the time Ponting, Johnson & lee keep mouthing off that the Aussies will win thru' sheer pace. Is Ponting trying to play his usual mind games? On the sub continent wickets, strong batting followed by economic bowling will win the day for most teams. Sheer pace without accuracy, length & direction will not succeed. The same also goes for the spin bowlers. SA has a good balance of pace and spin. SL think they have this too but it is not as good. Aussies have just pace and some spin. India has just one seamer and rely heavily on spinners. These 4 teams are likely to be the semi finalists. Against NZ, the Aussies will win easily because NZ are lapsidesical in batting and fielding. NZ batting is not strong and bowling is just average with Vettori being the main bowler. So the Aussies will likely have another easy victory tomorrow. SL will be their toughest opposition.

Posted by gzawilliam on (February 25, 2011, 0:38 GMT)

Australia should consider opening with Mitchell Johnson. We've seen how our right handers have been in a rut against spin early on. Bring in Johnson to play a normal batting role putting pressure on the spinners as a lefty.

I dont have too much faith in Brad Haddin. He looked out of his depth in the conditions last time. His only shot seems to be the show your stumps slog over cover. Which on slow wickets is just not a safe shot. He uses a straight bat to balls he should be poking for on on the leg side. Tim paine has showed he can rotate the strike. Give him a go.

All in all i think aussies will win this but it will be a struggle.

Posted by Looch on (February 24, 2011, 23:34 GMT)

@Marcio:Great comment lol! As for Australia's chance in this World Cup, we will do well until we come up against a South Africa or an India, I don't think we have got what it takes right now to overcome these teams.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2011, 21:26 GMT)

@Marcio only accurate comment in the whole list here.

@Pps Chawla, you do realise that two of the players you've mentioned are still in Australia don't you?

Posted by FR3AKX on (February 24, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

This is so absurd, Australia can only win this match if Lee and Mitchie can grab few wickets upfront else Krejza will be under huge pressure and will fail.. I really hope NZ giv the aussies a thrashing to remember n also break thier unbeaten run which is outlasted its expiry date... C'mmon Black Caps do it for your ppl back home.

Posted by Mitcher on (February 24, 2011, 19:16 GMT)

@Marcio: Brilliant!!!!!!!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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