The Ashes 2010-11 November 15, 2010

Xavier Doherty's chance to go all the way

ESPNcricinfo staff

Xavier Doherty's sudden elevation to the Test squad will only turn into a trip to Brisbane if he can out-bowl Nathan Hauritz at the SCG this week. Doherty, the left-arm spinner, will go head-to-head with the incumbent Hauritz when Tasmania play New South Wales from Wednesday.

Having gained a full-time spot in the Tigers' line-up this season, Doherty jumped into a one-day debut two weeks ago. He is on the verge of another big leap after being picked in the huge 17-man squad for the opening Test, but has to make the final cut when the outfit is trimmed to 12 or 13.

"I guess it's probably come down to that given the fact that they will cut it back by the end of the week," Doherty said in Sydney. "They are obviously looking at something this week, I guess this week's performances probably won't hurt too much."

Like most people, Doherty, 27, was surprised by the elevation. "I guess it wasn't that long ago that I was not even carrying the drinks for Tassie," he said. "It comes as a bit of a shock and it's a nice shock."

Usman Khawaja was on the tour to England for the Pakistan Tests during the winter but didn't get a game. It has made him even more desperate to play.

"Just getting a baggy green one day would be a dream," he said in Hobart. "I never try to put too much pressure on myself. If it is meant to happen it happens."

Khawaja will be jostling with Callum Ferguson and Steven Smith in Australia A's match against England, although the tourists will have their four best bowlers preparing in Brisbane. Ferguson, who is back after a knee reconstruction, is in his first ODI squad after impressing in 26 ODIs.

"After 11-and-a-half months of rehab, I really didn't expect to be here right now," Ferguson said. "There's a lot of uncertainty when you hurt your knee like I did. I'm just thrilled to be back playing cricket."

Ryan Harris is battling a persistent knee injury and doesn't expect to play at the Gabba, but he insists he'll be ready when needed. "In all honesty I don't think I'll be included in that first Test," he told AAP. "But if someone goes down and things change, I will be ready to go. That's going to be my role - to be ready if anything goes wrong."

Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said Phillip Hughes was disappointed to miss out, but the team did not need cover for the openers Simon Katich and Shane Watson. "We would consider him in a middle-order position," Hilditch said, "but at the moment we think the two young players from Australia A we picked are in a bit better form and ready to go."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Gilly4ever, that 48.8 is pretty hard to overlook! It is true that averages are unfair to spinners and do not take account of their tactical role in teams (e.g. Warnie's stats at the WACA). But...I think comparing Doherty to Hauritz only makes O'Keefe look like an even better option.

  • Brendon on November 16, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    I don't get this critism of Hauritz. He has had to bat tests in India, where funnily enough, not even the great Shane Warne could overcome. Hauritz has vital Ashes experience, and is fantastic in Australia. He had a bumper last summer against Pakistan and the West Indies, and showed his class. More to the point, England's best player of spin, Andrew Strauss, is memorised everytime Hauritz's bowls to him.

    Doherty on the otherhand is only just starting to play Domestic four day cricket again for Tasmania. He has been in and out of the side for years. Furthermore, everybody has been overawed by his fantastic 4/46 against Sri Lanka at the MCG. Seriously, he bowled extremely well, but how can one performance topple Hauritz's many brillant performances for Australia.

    Playing Doherty is a step to losing the Ashes.

  • aravind on November 16, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    according to me 15 member squad must be 1.shane watson 2.phil hughes 3.ponting 4.hodge 5.d.hussey 6.fergusen 7.haddin 8.m.hussey 9.u.kwaja 10.d.nannes 11.n.hawritz 12s.smith 13.s clark 14.siddle 15.bollinger

  • Sandon on November 16, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    @ SettingSun - I believe you would be talking about Beau Casson, he had a very bad form slump and i believe ended up playing some cricket in NT, not sure what has happened since, he has really flown of the radar. Back then i was a massive Casson fan (probably because i had him - and katich - bowl to me once when i went to the SCG for school), I believe his chances of getting back into the Australian outfit would be somewhere between 0 and 1% (probably closer to the 0).

  • Dummy4 on November 16, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    Didnt really know Steve O'Keefes first class stats were so is he not included? Are the selectors saying Hauritz, Doherty and Smith are all better bats and bowls than O'Keefe. If so the selectors have been drinking....And im a NZ supporter so very neutral.

  • Lachlan on November 16, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    @SettingSun - Beau Casson is who you're thinking of; not even in the NSW side nowadays.

  • Craig on November 15, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    Doherty bowls with good flight and control.. turns the ball a bit..... Give him a go...

  • TIm on November 15, 2010, 22:29 GMT

    Why is Steve O'Keefe, a bowler with a first class average of 27 and a batting average of over 50, not playing for Australia instead of these two?

  • TIm on November 15, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    Why is Steve O'Keefe, a bowler with a first class average of 27 and a batting average of over 50, not playing for Australia instead of these two?

  • Steve on November 15, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    What happened to that left arm wrist spinner Australia had out in the West Indies a couple of years ago? He looked okay. What happened to him? Can't remember his name, obviously!

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