The Ashes 2010-11 November 15, 2010

Xavier Doherty's chance to go all the way

ESPNcricinfo staff
17

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

  • 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.

  • Wogsrus 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.

  • arvarma345 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

  • Clethrill 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).

  • on November 16, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    Didnt really know Steve O'Keefes first class stats were so impressive...........how 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.

  • lachlan43 on November 16, 2010, 2:59 GMT

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

  • Iceborn999 on November 15, 2010, 22:45 GMT

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

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?

  • SettingSun 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!

  • 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.

  • Wogsrus 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.

  • arvarma345 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

  • Clethrill 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).

  • on November 16, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    Didnt really know Steve O'Keefes first class stats were so impressive...........how 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.

  • lachlan43 on November 16, 2010, 2:59 GMT

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

  • Iceborn999 on November 15, 2010, 22:45 GMT

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

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?

  • SettingSun 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!

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    48 48 48 48 48! It is all anyone notices. When Hauritz played his 2nd test a couple of years ago, his FC bowling average was 49. Doherty is a whole 1 point better than that. And you have to note that, unlike Hauritz, Doherty has a ODD bowling average of 27, suggesting that Doherty's FC bowling average is a bit misleading.

  • Gapsted on November 15, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Hauritz is done. His confidence is shot. England have studied him and know how to dominate him. Doherty is new, cocky and a leftie. For goodness sakes selectors, pick him!

  • landl47 on November 15, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    It's not often someone 28 years old (his birthday is next week) with a first-class bowling average of 48 is chosen for Australia, or any other country for that matter, as a specialist bowler. However, as his competition, Hauritz and Smith, have first-class averages of 43 and 48 respectively, maybe it isn't too surprising.

    I thought Ryan Harris was the pick of Australia's bowlers in England this year until he broke down. However, I don't see how the selectors can pick him for the first test when he isn't fit to play this week. If he breaks down again, that leaves Australia very thin, especially if Mitch "Sorry, skipper, she slipped" Johnson is one of the other bowlers.

  • Percy_Fender on November 15, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Doherty, good as he seems to be will obviously not make it for the Brisbane Test where I am sure Hauritz will play if they reckon a spinner is necessary. Shane Warne has bowled well at the Gabba in his playing days but then he was a genius. Nathan is a decent bowler who has the drift and deep that is so essential for a finger spinner. Unfortunately for his he has had the mortification of having been to India before the current series and people are inclined to be rashly judgemental about him. The fact is that England just does not have the batsmen who can play good spin as Saeed Ajmal and I am sure Hauritz will be a handful at all the grounds except maybe Brisbane.The only spinnerwho did well in India was Richie Benaud.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    I like the 17 man idea and head to head battles. If Doherty out-performs Hauritz, he should play. Sure he has been out of the Tasmanian Shield Squads a fair bit for the past few years, but he has been entrenched in their ODD squad, where he has been the player of the tournament the past couple of years and the best domestic spinner in the country by a mile. That he performed at the big stage in his ODI debut I think was the question mark about him. Just the same, Brisbane will be bad for spinners and if Doherty does debut, he'd want it to be in the 2nd, not the 1st, test.

  • KingofRedLions on November 15, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    I'll be shocked if he moves ahead of Hauritz.

  • Something_Witty on November 15, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    Doherty looked a good bowler in the one dayers. Probably isn't up to test standard, but what really impressed me was how much turn he got even when bowling at 90+ Kph. Gives the ball a real tweak.

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  • Something_Witty on November 15, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    Doherty looked a good bowler in the one dayers. Probably isn't up to test standard, but what really impressed me was how much turn he got even when bowling at 90+ Kph. Gives the ball a real tweak.

  • KingofRedLions on November 15, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    I'll be shocked if he moves ahead of Hauritz.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    I like the 17 man idea and head to head battles. If Doherty out-performs Hauritz, he should play. Sure he has been out of the Tasmanian Shield Squads a fair bit for the past few years, but he has been entrenched in their ODD squad, where he has been the player of the tournament the past couple of years and the best domestic spinner in the country by a mile. That he performed at the big stage in his ODI debut I think was the question mark about him. Just the same, Brisbane will be bad for spinners and if Doherty does debut, he'd want it to be in the 2nd, not the 1st, test.

  • Percy_Fender on November 15, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Doherty, good as he seems to be will obviously not make it for the Brisbane Test where I am sure Hauritz will play if they reckon a spinner is necessary. Shane Warne has bowled well at the Gabba in his playing days but then he was a genius. Nathan is a decent bowler who has the drift and deep that is so essential for a finger spinner. Unfortunately for his he has had the mortification of having been to India before the current series and people are inclined to be rashly judgemental about him. The fact is that England just does not have the batsmen who can play good spin as Saeed Ajmal and I am sure Hauritz will be a handful at all the grounds except maybe Brisbane.The only spinnerwho did well in India was Richie Benaud.

  • landl47 on November 15, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    It's not often someone 28 years old (his birthday is next week) with a first-class bowling average of 48 is chosen for Australia, or any other country for that matter, as a specialist bowler. However, as his competition, Hauritz and Smith, have first-class averages of 43 and 48 respectively, maybe it isn't too surprising.

    I thought Ryan Harris was the pick of Australia's bowlers in England this year until he broke down. However, I don't see how the selectors can pick him for the first test when he isn't fit to play this week. If he breaks down again, that leaves Australia very thin, especially if Mitch "Sorry, skipper, she slipped" Johnson is one of the other bowlers.

  • Gapsted on November 15, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Hauritz is done. His confidence is shot. England have studied him and know how to dominate him. Doherty is new, cocky and a leftie. For goodness sakes selectors, pick him!

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    48 48 48 48 48! It is all anyone notices. When Hauritz played his 2nd test a couple of years ago, his FC bowling average was 49. Doherty is a whole 1 point better than that. And you have to note that, unlike Hauritz, Doherty has a ODD bowling average of 27, suggesting that Doherty's FC bowling average is a bit misleading.

  • SettingSun 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!

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?

  • Raworth_Rabbitohs 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?