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September 26, 2008
Ashley Noffke's Queensland team-mate Andy Bichel has described the Australia selectors' decision to overlook Noffke for the Test tour of India as "mind-blowing". Noffke was one of two backup fast men on this year's trip to the West Indies but the relatively untried Peter Siddle was preferred for the Indian series.
Noffke made his one-day international debut in February but when a place opened up in the recent Darwin series against Bangladesh, Brett Geeves was called into the squad. The selectors' harsh treatment of Noffke hit home for Bichel, who often during his career was pushed out of the national side despite being a consistently strong state performer.
"To see it happening to one of your Queensland mates you think 'what is going on here?' Bichel told AAP. "Even Brett Geeves getting a game against Bangladesh ... it should have been Ashley Noffke. It's just mind-blowing."
Instead of being with the Test group, Noffke is in India with Australia A, where he has picked up six wickets in the one-day games at 26.50. In his only chance to bowl in the three-day game, Noffke finished with 1 for 67. However, he had a huge domestic campaign in 2007-08, when he became only the third Australian to complete the season double of 50 wickets and 500 runs.
"I'm not saying Siddle isn't a great prospect for the future," Bichel said. "But injuries happen on tour and all of a sudden ... Ricky [Ponting] needs to turn to someone he knows can do the job. Ashley Noffke is ready for that challenge, but he's playing for Australia A instead."
A frustrated Noffke said after the Test squad was announced that he was disillusioned with how the selectors made their decisions. Noffke holds a Cricket Australia contract for the coming season and he will be aiming to add to his one ODI cap and two Twenty20 appearances.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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