Australia in India 2008-09 September 15, 2008

Krejza toasts national selection after drink ban

Cricinfo staff

Jason Krejza's move to Tasmania has been successful © Getty Images

Jason Krejza, the new Australia offspinner, says it was not until the past summer that he felt committed enough to play at the highest levels. Krejza's Tasmania team-mates banned him from alcohol for 2007-08 and excluded him from pre-season training after he was arrested for drink-driving and speeding last year.

"That was the pivotal moment in my career," Krejza told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I had to prove to myself that I was committed enough. When someone asks you to go for a beer, it's a bit hard to say no sometimes. It was me being able to be committed enough to something to stick at it.

"When it is all up against you, you find out things about yourself. That experience really did show me what I wanted to do."

On Sunday Krejza will leave with the Australia squad for India as the back-up spinner behind Bryce McGain and Michael Clarke. His selection is a gamble, but Australia's preference for a finger spinner forced the selectors to look past Dan Cullen and Nathan Hauritz, who have played Tests on the subcontinent.

Krejza turned out in seven first-class games last season and collected 18 wickets at 47.11, a slightly more economical return than Cullen managed in one more match. He also won a spot ahead of Beau Casson, who appeared in a Test in the West Indies. It was Casson's arrival in New South Wales from Western Australia that convinced Krejza to move to Tasmania in 2006-07.

"I was playing a lot of grade cricket and doing quite well but I had Stuey MacGill in front of me and there was Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken, Doug Bollinger and Brett Lee, so there wasn't a lot of opportunity to bowl long spells," Krejza said. "Then they brought in Beau and Nathan Hauritz so I knew I had to look for an opportunity elsewhere."