Nathan Hauritz plans to reignite his ailing first-class career with New South Wales but Greg Matthews, the former Test offspinner, says he must first lose the scars created by Queensland over the past two years. In 2004 Hauritz collected five wickets in his only Test, but he was stuck in grade cricket by the end of the next summer, and last season he was picked in one Pura Cup game for the Bulls.
"They absolutely blowtorched him," Matthews said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "There is no doubt he is still heavily scarred from his time in Queensland. I begged him two years ago to run away from there as fast as he could."
Switching to the Blues in the off-season, Hauritz was given a contract in the squad that includes the Test bowler Stuart MacGill and Beau Casson, the left-arm wrist spinner from Western Australia. "When he arrived here he was bowling off-cutters more than offspin," Matthews said. "I couldn't believe how much he had changed. He still has an enormous amount of work to do, but he is eager to learn and he is now in the right place."
Hauritz, who played in the 2003 World Cup, has spent only six weeks with the squad but said he has learned more than in his entire career. "Not just from talking to Matthews and Magilla [Stuart MacGill]," he told the paper, "it's just the philosophy on spin bowling that they have."
In the months after his Test experience against India Hauritz said his mental state was "pretty bad" and he realised his action was not suitable for first-class cricket. "It took a long time, but I have finally felt in the last six months that I have erased those thoughts and that technique," he said. "It feels like a fresh start ... there are no expectations from anyone, no expectations from NSW."