Krejza screams his credentials
A few screams from Jason Krejza helped convince Ricky Ponting that the offspinner has what it takes to become an international bowler. Krejza, who is jostling with Cameron White for the final spot in Australia's first-Test team, was angry the Board President's XI had declared their second innings - even though at the time he had the unflattering figures of 0 for 76 from 11 overs.
The closure left him with a match return of 0 for 199 and seemed to end his immediate chances of making his debut after being catapulted over Beau Casson into the squad. "One positive coming from that game was I could hear all this yelling and screaming coming from the background and it was Jason on the boundary," Ponting said. "He was really disappointed not to get another bowl. For me that was a good sign."
While White, a composed batsman and part-time legspinner, is the safer option in an unenviable choice, Ponting seemed to lean slightly towards Krejza despite his problems in the tour game. "You could understand that something like that would probably have affected him in some way, but if you had a look at him at training [on Tuesday] he bowled probably the best he's bowled on the tour.
"He's willing to learn and is still a bit raw because he hasn't played a lot of first-class cricket, but he's got all the skills he needs to become a very good bowler." Krejza has appeared in 24 four-day games while White, who is Bryce McGain's understudy in Victoria, has 161 state and county wickets at 38.24.
Ponting knows there is a significant difference between time in the nets and life in the middle, but Krejza has received special attention on how to cope with the various demands of the India batsmen. The captain is also convinced the Test players will not treat Krejza in the same brutal manner as Yuvraj Singh did in the warm-up.
"The more senior guys have probably got a fair bit more pressure on them than the tour game," he said. "I think he can do a good job if he gets an opportunity."
Ponting also said White could shine in Tests and was keen for him to gain further top-level opportunities. "The more exposure we give him at international level the better," he said. "He bowled well on the A tour here, albeit mainly in one-dayers, but the more we can put him in situations against better players the better he'll become."
While Ponting has a decision to make on who receives a new baggy green, there is one call he won't be making. Shane Warne said in London on Tuesday he would consider a return if Ponting asked him to help out.
"I'm not sure how much bowling he's done," Ponting said before being told it was a few balls. "That's good preparation for four Tests in India. That's not our focus at the moment.
"With this series coming up - we've know it's been coming up for a while - if we were going to do it, we'd have done it before now. I haven't spoken to Warney at all about making a comeback - I'm pretty sure nobody has.
"He's said a few times he's happily retired. Our challenge is to find the next spinner in Australia who is going to help us win a few Tests." At the moment it's between Krejza and White.