Michael Beer surprised at Test call-up
Michael Beer's selection for the third Test in Perth was a shock to everyone in Australian cricket - not least to Beer himself. Having played only five first-class matches since his debut in October, Beer has suddenly found himself in line to become Australia's 418th Test cricketer, as the selectors search for a way to blunt England's powerful batting line-up.
It has been a sharp rise for a man who until last summer was playing club cricket in Melbourne, working at Puma and hoping to find a way into a Victorian team that already featured the spinners Bryce McGain and Jon Holland. Beer is the biggest bolter Australia's selectors have chosen since Peter Taylor, the offspinner, who bowled Australia to victory in Sydney in 1986-87 having played six previous first-class matches.
"I was a little bit surprised and I don't think it really sank in until I rang my parents and actually blurted it out myself and thought hang on, what's going on here?'" Beer said. "Twelve months ago I probably wasn't a professional cricketer, that's in all facets, and then WA gave me the opportunity under Mickey Arthur and they've been really great and backed me and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
"The move to Perth has been brilliant for me. It definitely created a lot of opportunities and I've really enjoyed playing with the Warriors. I love it and the deck's good. I love bowling on it."
A tall left-armer, Beer has impressed Arthur, his state coach, with his competitiveness, despite having not taken more than three wickets in an innings at state level. "He has a way to go. He is young in the game, but in a year's time he will be sensational," Arthur said. "He will be able to handle anything international cricket can throw at him."
The challenge for Beer is to ensure that in a year's time - or in a month's time - he has not become yet another in Australia's long list of discarded spinners. If he debuts at the WACA, he will be the tenth slow bowler Australia have used in Tests since the retirement of Shane Warne and No. 9, the newly-axed Xavier Doherty, believes the selectors are panicking.
"There is probably a little bit of panic there, but it is only a short series," Doherty told the Mercury. "We've got to turn it around pretty quickly. In an ideal world, I would have liked a few more chances. You have seen how many spinners they have used over the last couple of years, so I'm sure the selectors aren't quite sure who the next person is. But I'm sure if I am given another chance, I can certainly make an impact.
"I started to feel the pressure. Once I started leaking a few boundaries instead of getting back to the basics of what I learnt in Shield cricket over the last couple of years, I probably went searching for a few more wickets and probably produced a few more bad balls. It cuts me pretty deep to know I didn't put in my best performance in Adelaide and knowing I'm a better bowler than that."