India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Margao October 22, 2010

Australia coach backs Nathan Hauritz

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, has defended offspinner Nathan Hauritz following his disappointing returns in the ongoing tour of India by suggesting a lack of bounce could be the reason and backing him to be well-prepared for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Hauritz was ineffective against India's batsmen in the Tests, averaging 65 for his six wickets, and went wicketless in his team's five-wicket defeat in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam.

"His performance is better in Test cricket than what he has done here in India," Nielsen told reporters in Margao, the venue of the third and final ODI on Sunday. "We have talked quite a bit since the end of the second Test. (He's) started getting used to the conditions. He hasn't got the assistance here he gets in Australia, probably because of the slowness of the wickets and the lack of bounce.

"The Indian spinners put a lot of top spin on the ball to try and get the ball to bounce. In Australia the wickets are harder and we probably concentrate more on sidespin. It's a big difference when you play in these conditions, something Nathan has to do to get adjusted to the playing conditions here."

Hauritz was Australia's best bowler in the home Test series against Pakistan in 2009-10, where he picked up 18 wickets, and Nielsen said he had a chance to return to form ahead of the Ashes. "It was a massive learning curve for him. He's a better bowler as a result of it," Nielsen said. "He's got two-three Sheffield Shield matches and that should help him prepare well for the first Test."

Instead, Nielsen said, the inexperience of Australia's fast-bowling attack was a bit of a concern. Two seamers - John Hastings and Mitchell Starc - made their debuts in the Visakhapatnam game, while their partner Clint McKay was still new to international cricket. "If we lack anything it is the experience in the fast bowling group that we had in the past," Nielsen said. "When we won the Champions Trophy in South Africa last year we had (Peter) Siddle, Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson as our first three bowlers. That makes it a lot easier when bowlers four and five come into the attack.

"We have Starc, Hastings and Mckay who have played very little international cricket. It puts pressure on our middle bowlers. Probably it was a little bit evident the other night when we did not take early wickets."

When asked if the results on this tour had affected Australia's World Cup preparation, Nielsen said: "We are not panicking at all. We understand we haven't got the results we would have liked but we have been very competitive. If you add the loss of (Ricky) Ponting, (Mitchell) Johnson, (Shane) Watson, (Michael) Hussey, (Shaun) Tait, (Brett) Lee to this one day side, we would take this side."

It has been raining in Goa over the last couple of days and Nielsen expected the pitch to play slow on Sunday. "I'm not sure it has seen a lot of sunshine," Nielsen said. "I don't think it will be a hard, fast, bouncy wicket. Still (there are) two days to go. They can roll a bit more tomorrow, if the sun comes out. The wicket may be a bit slow but it could be a good batting wicket."

Nielsen confirmed Callum Ferguson would replace Michael Hussey in the middle order. Hussey has returned to Australia to represent his state side Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Maurice on October 24, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    After Shane Warne there has been no australian spinner who could trouble any batsman... Hauritz is rubbish and needs to go back to first calss cricket and learn to turn the ball and also variations.. Australia's strength is pace and they need to go with that and build a team.

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Australia are on a downhill course, no matter what. They have suddenly lost a few greats of the game and finding it hard to come up with new good players.

  • Niral on October 24, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    Recent Selections makes you wonder whether these are the Same Aussies who were so professional and ruthless that Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Micheal Bevan were asked to make up their retirement plans by Selectors. Infact the selection of Clarke as T20 captain can't get more pathetic, he doesn't even make it to best 20 T20 players Australia has. And I can't believe the statements by Warne "if they want me, i can be there" shouldn't he be there by given, I mean Warne has the responsibility for finding and grooming a spinner who can carry on his legacy, but here Australian Team and Warne seems to be waiting for each other to take initial steps. He should have been either made a spin coach or on a talent hunt.

  • Niral on October 24, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Well it seems that Australian Selectors and Coaches are living in illusive world. Recently they have persisted with North and Johnson who were highly inconsistent in last 15 months. Australia failing recently is mainly due to that. Johnson is turning out to be a joke and if Australian Selectors are not going to accept that, along with North and now Hauritz, they are causing their own downfall. Its not the lack of talent thats the problem for them, its dubious selections. It makes one think that probably Gilchrist and Hayden gave up way too early probably feeling the heat due to lack of performances, atleast they are miles better than Johnson and North and would have easily been back to form. They would probably win Ashes with North, Hauritz and Johnson - because England is not good enough and probably these players will be persisted till there is a big setback like getting eliminated from WC in 1st round or losing to Bangladesh Series all matches.

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    Apparently, Mr. Coach had to wait until the series was over to realise that Indian pitches would not suit Hauritz. Why is Nielsen in the Australian team?

  • Aidan on October 23, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    Lets be honest, he just isnt very good. The points about bounce and speed of turn are very valid to spinners in general, but not when applied to a player who is basically rubbish.

  • Rajaram on October 23, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    I wouldn't worry about the performance of Nathan Haritz in Indian conditions.Even the world's best spinner, Shane Warne could not perform well in India - or for that matter, spinners from other countries too.What is important to us is that Hauritz has a good record IN Australia, and THAT is the valid statistic for the forthcoming Ashes.

  • Ramakrishnan on October 23, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    Having been with the Australian team to India for sometime now, Nathan Hauritz should have watched the Indian spinners bowl and learnt how to spin the ball. An off spinner who tries to turn the ball side ways (that too to players who are very good facing to spinners) will never be able to succeed (as in the case of Hauritz). Instead, if only Hauritz had tried to give top spin and more variations, he would have got some bounce from the wickets and definitely got a few more wickets.

  • arjun on October 23, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Hauritz has misfortune to bowl to tendulkar while tendulkar piled on runs. He looked bad but he was bowling to best batsman anyone would look as bad he did. Swan has SR of 38 in india, nothing special.

  • Dummy4 on October 23, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    hauritz is a good off spinner.....but due to a different environment in india , he wasn't able to perform well.....smith is far more better than hauritz i guess...

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