The Ashes 2010-11 November 20, 2010

Doherty 'on top of the world' after Test call


Xavier Doherty, Australia's newest spin selection, knows he is not going to be the next Shane Warne but is determined to make an impact in Thursday's Ashes Test. The only way Doherty won't play at the Gabba is if Ricky Ponting decides to go without a slow bowler, which is highly unlikely even on a greentop.

But Warne, who is proving impossible to replace four years after his retirement, said it was a "dumb" decision to drop Nathan Hauritz. Warne tweeted that the call was "very, very harsh on Hauritz" and that "he deserved first crack at Poms". He also asked: "What happens if Smith or X don't do well[?] Back to Hauritz? That seems dumb to me ... Got it wrong way around the selectors!"

Doherty is the ninth Test spinner to be chosen since Warne walked away after the 2006-07 Ashes. "Warney is a tough comparison so I don't think I'm going to be taking 800 wickets in Test cricket," Doherty said in Brisbane. "But I certainly think I can make some sort of impact."

He said he felt for Hauritz, who he played against in the Tasmania-New South Wales Sheffield Shield fixture this week. Doherty took two wickets in the match dominated by the seamers, while Hauritz was given one over.

"It's one of those things in professional sports, there is always going to be ups and downs and at the moment it's hopefully my time to shine," he said. "But now I'm the one being hunted and they are all after my spot. I do feel for him."

In 35 first-class games Doherty has 84 wickets at 48.26, and he impressed the national selectors with his performances in two ODIs against Sri Lanka earlier in the month. "I average 48, which isn't pretty, but that 48 is over 35 games and my first 25 games I averaged 60 or something like that," he said. "In the last 10 I average something like 30 and that's the form I've been picked on. I've been picked on my form on the last eight or nine."

In his most recent six Shield appearances he has collected 23 wickets and regained the state's No.1 spin bowling spot from Jason Krejza. It was Krejza's arrival in Tasmania four years ago that sparked the turnaround from Doherty, who will be 28 on Monday. "It was a real kick up the bum for me, I went from playing all forms of the game to only playing 10 games a year in one-day cricket," he said. "But that burning desire to get back into the four-day team for Tassie is what really kicked me on."

On Thursday all the work will end in a Test debut in the opening Ashes encounter. "I'm on top of the world at the moment, I couldn't be happier," he said. "When I got the phone call this morning I couldn't really believe it. I'm very excited."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    One more victim from spin bowler's graveyard.. Maybe the spinners should start feigning injuries before a tour to India.. Ponting had enormous confidence on Hauritz before the tour, and look where he is now..

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2010, 6:41 GMT

    Seems like new team is emerging from Tasmania now..

  • Dummy4 on November 21, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    Doherty is good for now, Hauritz didn't do much and right arm off spin is as useless as leg spin was before Warne. Look for O'keefe in a few years time! and remember, who was the spinner who won matches for australia before Warne?? Mathews?? May?? Bright?? Holland?? how many with averages over 30 played between Tiger and Warnie???

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    Even if we are "going on recent form", then O'Keefe is still ahead of Doherty (not to mention he is a more than handy - and consistent - lower order batsman). It is also amazing that people forget that, outside of the India Tour, Hauritz had a very good year or so... All the while the selectors continue to stick with batsman that have churned out consistently mediocre performances in North and Hussey!

  • Vikram on November 20, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    Shane Warne doesn't know what he is talking about.All he does is tweet something controversial to keep himself in the head lines.Doherty is a brave selection and a good one.Guess if you listen to Shane Warne,you would end up picking the wrong guys for playing cricket like the one for eg.ravindra jadeja whom he termed as the future of Indian Cricket.Now seriously that was a big joke and India are paying dearly for that!

  • Rajaram on November 20, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    I am pretty sick of Shane Warne's fixations. He does not do what he is paid to do - scout for talented spinners, develop them with Terry Jenner. Instead he shoots his mouth, like he knows best - unwilling to accept that Hauritz is finished. He should look back at the words people said about him.Doherty willmake him eat humble pie. Excellent ,brave selection - you guys - Hilditch,Greg,Cox,Boon.

  • Nick on November 20, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    Doherty deserves the nod ahead of Hauritz in this 13 man squad. I would say even O'Keefe has overtaken Hauritz. England's middle order are all righthanders, and will find left-arm spin much tougher throughout the series. Pietersen is also a danger man, and is susceptible to left arm spinners. Having said the above I would pick 3 specialist pacemen for the Gabba test, and have Watson as the 4th seamer. He is in great form with the ball, having just come off a Michelle Pfeiffer. I would use Smith, North, Clarke and Katich as the spin options (if required). On a green top at the Gabba, Australia will have the pace options, spin options, and a strengthened batting line up to better deal with the conditions. My team in batting order: Watson, Katich, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, North, Haddin, Smith, Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Bollinger, Siddle (12th man).

  • Sam on November 20, 2010, 10:23 GMT

    Finally the selectors have put some faith in the young players. I expect Doherty to be more effective than Hauritz although I do agree that Hauritz should have been given a chance in the first game. North should not be playing as Cameron White would be a much better option. England should win easily but Australia have a lot of good players that can dominate if they rediscover some form.

  • Ben on November 20, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    Warne is right bur so are the selectors , the selectors picked the best side for the Brisbane match .

    Hauritz will benefit from the absence he needs to get his confidence back he is not going to do it in Brisbane with a deck not helping and the englishman going after him . A few wickets in some shield games will do him a world of good , if he cant get the wickets in shield games he shouldn't be in the national side.

  • Andrew on November 20, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    Warne should stop saying dumb comments and leave the selection of the team to the selectors and butt out if he cared about the team he would do something to help it instead of chasing money in india. And it doesn't help ponting when ex players kept saying things like this. Australia needs to change because the players at the moment aren't doing the job

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