Geeves call-up caps dramatic year

Brett Geeves, the Tasmania fast bowler, was considering a new career a year ago. He had struggled to pin down a permanent place in the triumphant Tasmania Pura Cup squad of 2006-07 and with the state's pace stocks looking strong, he was in danger of being cut by the Tigers.

Now he could become Australia's newest one-day international player having been called into the squad to take on Bangladesh after Brett Lee pulled out due to his marriage break-up. It caps off a remarkable year for Geeves, who was unexpectedly signed by the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League and played alongside Virender Sehwag, Glenn McGrath and Daniel Vettori.

"I was checking the Saturday employment guides pretty carefully," Geeves told the Mercury of his situation during the 2007 off-season. "I wasn't far off maybe losing my state contract and having to pursue other areas."

His 12 wickets in the Pura Cup in 2006-07 had come at 63.83, he was overlooked for the decider, and his one-day average and economy rate had ballooned as well. His response was to train with a Tasmanian football team during the winter to get himself in the best possible shape to resurrect his career.

"It has been a pretty big turnaround, I've worked pretty hard in the gym and with the Glenorchy footy boys," Geeves said. "It has certainly paid off and I certainly credit that to the success I had last year in the domestic season."

It was quite a fightback. In 2007-08 he was Tasmania's Player of the Year, the equal leading wicket taker in the domestic one-day competition and Man of the Match in the team's FR Cup final victory. While Geeves, 26, is in line for Australia selection, his Tasmania team-mate Jason Krejza also enjoyed an unexpected call-up this week after being picked for Australia A.

Krejza, an offpsinning allrounder, also had a tough off-season in 2007 when he was caught drink-driving and speeding, and lost his licence for seven months. Tasmania suspended him from their pre-season training and banned him from alcohol for the whole of 2007-08.

He picked up 18 Pura Cup wickets last summer and although they came at 47.11 apiece, it was enough for him to go on next month's Australia A trip to India. "I'm proud of the way that I came out of it," Krejza said of his driving offence. "I have got Tassie cricket to thank for that, they helped me quite a lot to get through that.

"As you can see right now, my cricket is right on track so I'm very proud of that fact. Things like that can happen and put your world in perspective to see what is most important to you and I found out cricket is. It always was and I just had to get my priorities right and I did that."