Simon Mathew Katich
August 21, 1975, Middle Swan, Western Australia
Left hand bat
Left arm wrist spin
With an unconventional style and a get-your-gloves-dirty approach, Simon Katich proves you don't have to be fashionable to be successful. His walk-across-the-stumps technique isn't as crabby as Shivnarine Chanderpaul's, and he is scrawny next to Matthew Hayden and Shane Watson, but Katich has been a must-have man at the top of Australia's order in the second stage of his career.
In phase one, which began with a Test debut in 2001 and included a spot in the 2005 Ashes loss, Katich was overly intense. Learning to enjoy his job was central to the stunning revival from seemingly washed up domestic batsman to respected Test player. Rather than trying to prove anything to the Australia selectors who cut his national contract in 2007, he conceded he was struggling and deserved to be dropped. The 2007-08 season was the turning point, with his 1506 Pura Cup runs for New South Wales earning him another chance in a baggy green. The fun continued when he quickly became a national fixture with six hundreds in 16 matches, even though he was playing out of position.
Katich is capable of batting at two paces: he can nudge, leave and work the ball across his body for hours; or release free-flowing drives through cover, cuts behind point or heavy pulls. The method depends on the situation and how he feels, with his body language usually giving away the mood. An accomplished leader of New South Wales, he has plenty to offer tactically, although he is expected to be too old to be a serious contender as the next Test captain. While his left-arm wrist-spin is under-valued by Ricky Ponting - Katich also says bowling aggravates his shoulder - his runs are always appreciated.
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