The Ashes 2010-11 November 20, 2010

Doherty in Test squad, Hauritz dropped


The offspinner Nathan Hauritz has been dropped for the first Ashes Test and been replaced by the spinners Xavier Doherty and Steven Smith, who have been included in the 13-man squad to face England on Thursday. Doherty, the left-arm orthodox from Tasmania, is a surprise inclusion after a bright start to the summer and the selectors hope he will be a threat for the right-handers in England's order.

Doherty is now a certainty to play from Thursday while Smith, the legspinning allrounder, is likely to be considered more closely for the second game in Adelaide. Michael Hussey was selected after his century for Western Australia on Friday while Marcus North, the other under-pressure batsman, was also included.

Four men were cut from the inflated 17-man unit chosen in Sydney on Monday. Callum Ferguson and Usman Khawaja failed to impress for Australia A in Hobart this week while Ryan Harris' knee makes him too much of a risk for such an important engagement.

However, it is the omission of Hauritz, Australia's first-choice spinner since the 2009 Ashes, that is the biggest change. Hauritz struggled during the two Tests in India last month and has been under-bowled since returning home. He was given only six balls in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania, in which Doherty collected two victims, including bowling Simon Katich around his legs.

"Nathan Hauritz is one of these players omitted and he can consider himself unlucky as his Australian record has been very good over the past 12 months," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "However the panel believes the left-arm orthodox variety Xavier Doherty provides against a predominantly right-handed English middle order is the better option in this game."

Kevin Pietersen is not as comfortable against left-arm slow bowlers, with Steve O'Keefe adding to his problems by bowling him for 5 in the first innings in Hobart. England have two left-handed openers in Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook in their preferred XI, along with the bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

Doherty's overall career average is 48.26 in 35 first-class games and he has only been a regular in the Tasmanian outfit since the start of the season. The past six Shield contests over two summers have earned him 23 wickets and he has impressed his state team-mate Ricky Ponting, whose captaincy career relies on what happens during the Ashes.

Doug Bollinger returns to the squad after recovering from the stomach injury that ruled him out of the second Test in India last month. Bollinger was hit for six as Tasmania beat New South Wales yesterday, but he gained three wickets in the first innings and will battle with Peter Siddle for the final bowling place alongside Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus. The squad will arrive in Brisbane on Sunday.

Australia squad Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Brij on November 25, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    surprising to me that o'keefe isnt playing...

  • Andrew on November 23, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    @Gily4ever - I think Hilfy will get the nod over Sid due to a Man of the Match last start @ the Gabba. @Jose Cyriac - maybe but Doherty is getting selected ahead of him @ Hobart. @c5nv2838a47i - agreed. I would nearly go O'Keefe for North & keep Hauritz. @thebarmyarmy - (& anybody quoting Dohertys average), - the last year or so Doherty's ave has been good, so he is obviously improving & he also bowls on the best batting strip in Oz. @EverybodylovesSachin - LOL - just like how Sth Africa is going to end SRTs career hey!@allblue- the McGrath/Warne era was not an anomoly - the anomoly for Oz was the mid 1980s, otherwise we have been either the best or nearly the best for over 120 years!@Steve Andrews re:Copeland - agreed, except can you imagine the outcry of another NSW player. @Gilly4ever - agreed with Doherty - his form is much better over 2 yrs then career. @popcorn - good onya!

  • John on November 23, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    @Australia17594- Johnson does have more total wickets, but that's because Hilfenhaus was injured during the Australian summer of 2009/2010 and therefore Johnson played an extra 7 matches. If you just take the matches in which they both played (Hilfenhaus has never played a test in which Johnson wasn't playing) in the last 18 months, you find that Johnson took 35 wickets and Hilfenhaus took 41. Johnson's average was 35.4 and Hilfenhaus's was 27.4. Case proved, don't you think? Oh, and Hilfenhaus took 22 wickets in the last Ashes series to Johnson's 20. However, I do agree with you that Hilfenhaus can bowl straight.

  • Sanjay on November 22, 2010, 23:55 GMT

    Ratings are interesting but like stats, they can be bent to show whatever you want them to show. The Aussie bowling has the edge over the English full stop. The Doug, Mitch and Siddle are much more impressive than the Pommie 3, especially in Australia. But the batting of both sides remains wobbly and they are pretty even here. Khawaja is unknown but I wish him all the best if he does play. Does anyone still miss Brad Hodge? I do...

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    hyclass i agree with you. i have been calling for trent copeland to be seriously looked at as he is the best bowler in australia, he keeps taking big bags of wickets at a great economy and strike rate. O'keefe is the other outstanding player who deserves selection. The only 2 batsman that i would add to the team is hughes and khawaja. Ferguson and marsh all average mid 30's in 1st class they will never be test batsman, forget it. Those 4 players should be next in line, khawaja, hughes, copeland and o'keefe. I am a Qlder and hate nsw but they still should be picked, they are the best in the country.

  • Mark on November 22, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    @Landl47 Johnson has more wickets than anyone else in the team apart from bollinger where they are tied... and i think johnson top wicketed in ashed 09. So... he is better than hilf although hilf can bowl straight at the stumps

  • John on November 22, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Come on, P-Dub, those ratings are nonsense and you know it. You give Australia a 4-point bowling advantage because you include Trott, Pietersen and BELL in the ratings? The only way Bell bowls an over is if it's the last one in a game that everyone has conceded will be drawn. Among the top 5 bowlers, the people who actually will bowl, the ratings give England a 34.5 to 34 advantage. Even there, rating Broad (who destroyed Australia in the last test between the two countries) below young Finn makes no sense. Likewise, what year is Johnson being rated on? He's done nothing to be rated above Hilfenhaus in the last 18 months. The only point that is valid is that Watson is a better 4th seamer than Collingwood, which gives Australia an advantage in a high-scoring game when the bowlers have to put in a lot of overs. If you seriously believe that Australia's occasional bowlers will be the difference between the two teams, you're dreaming. I hope Ponting follows your advice.

  • John on November 22, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    If Clarke is unable to play at 100% (and not being able to practice 3 days before the game doesn't look good) it's a huge blow to Australia. The Australian batting already looks fragile and with Clarke missing or limited, there's even more reason to worry. There's also Clarke's fielding; he's a superb fielder and if he can't move properly in the field it will make it even harder for Ponting to contain an England side which has scored very freely in the games so far. I never want anyone to be hurt, so I hope he's OK. He's a beautiful player to watch when he's going well.

  • George on November 22, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    O'Keefe has been in form, and not just with the ball but with the bat also. Crazy that he wasn't in the squad...

  • kieran on November 22, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    Disregard Dohertys FC avg of 48, he's better than that. His debut ODI showed him to be a superior bowler than what Hauritz is (or could be). He bowled tight lines with good variationand got good wickets, and looked in control when he was bowling, something Hauritz never does. Hauritz was picked (when not even in the NSW XI) to contain the scoring when Krezja was too expensive. He hasn't been cheap enough or taken enough wickets and Doherty is in form. I would have even been happy for O'Keefe to get in for Hauritz (he's also a better choice than Smith) but I guess the selectors want him to play a few more games first. Do I feel sorry for Haurtiz? Yep, but being a nice guy shouldn't cement your place in the side at a better players expense, and Doherty has showed more ability at important times.

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