Ashes 2010: Xavier Doherty the Most Likely Unlikeliest Spin Option

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AsAshes 100-1 Countdown: 17 Days Until the Ashes

A few days back David Green delivered the verdict on the Australian squad (visit his Ashes 2010 Australian Squad Profiles). One notable profile was that of Xavier Doherty.

Xavier Doherty – A first-class average of 50 with the ball suggests his mention in dispatches is perhaps a ploy to wind up that habitual victim of slow-left armers – Kevin Pietersen. If he plays in the series, we will eat our collection of Wisdens.”

Not one too mince his words, The Reverse Sweep, would eat his collection of Wisdens if he plays. As he rightly points out a first class average of 50 does not hold up to much and the figures don’t lie. But what Mr. Green does ignore is the fragility of the spin selection for the Australian starting lineup.

If we learned anything from the two tests in India, it was that Ricky Ponting has no faith in Nathan Hauritz. When the going got tough in Mohali and India, courtesy of VVS Laxman, chased down the most unlikely of targets it wasn’t Hauritz who Ponting turned to. He seemingly had more faith in the part time off spin of Marcus North. Faith that evidently wasn’t rewarded.

Amongst the World Cricket Watch team present at the MCG last Wednesday night, witnessing the wonderful “little” Sri Lankans beat Australia, there was a consensus that the Australian spin position is the spot that is the most up-for-grabs of them all. A sentiment exists that if any spinner does something spectacular in the Sheffield Shield, then they have every chance of featuring during the upcoming Ashes series. And that is exactly what Xavier Doherty did by claiming 5-83 in the first innings of Tasmania’s match against Victoria. Then having been called up to the Australian one day side he produced a bowling masterclass taking 5-46. And at one point had figures of 3 for 3.

A berth in the first test squad announced later tonight is extremely unlikely granted. But if Xavier produces the goods in one more Sheffield Shield game who’s to say whether he might not feature later in the series with David Green being forced to devour his cherished Wisdens.

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