Australian selectors are going through spinners faster than Henry VIII of England did with his wives. Having been replaced by Xavier Doherty a.k.a “X”, Nathan Hauritz joins the discarded likes of Beau Casson, Cameron White, Jason Krejza and Bryce McGain in Test cricket wilderness.
Hauritz’s Test record is notably better than his last four predecessors combined. Casson, White, Krejza and McGain combined, played eight Tests, took 21 wickets @ 56.29 for 4.43 runs per over. Hauritz played 17 Tests, took 63 wickets @ 34.98 for 3.14 runs per over. The notion of replacing Hauritz who has proven he can do a “job” at Test level with Doherty whose first class career bowling average (48.26) is higher than Kevin Pietersen’s Test career batting average (47.80) is staggering.
Chief selector Andrew Hilditch said Doherty’s left-arm orthodox variety was a better option against the predominantly right handed English middle order. In other words, Doherty’s selection is only due to Pietersen’s frailty against left arm spin. In 15 Test matches against teams with a specialist left arm spinner, Pietersen has been dismissed 16 times. His cause wasn’t helped when he was bowled for five by left arm spinner Steven O’Keefe in England’s last tour match against Australia A.
Doherty is no Shakib Al Hasan let alone a Daniel Vettori and the most crucial aspect the selectors overlooked was when Al Hasan and Vettori were dismissing Pietersen for fun, both were leading their attacks. Doherty will not lead the attack, he’ll be asked to do a “job” yet with a first class economy rate of 3.42, how adequate will his job be? If Hauritz wasn’t attacking enough, why not select Jason Krejza? Again this raises the question, why was Hauritz axed?
Two of the greatest Test spinners of all time failed in Indian conditions. Shane Warne averaged 43.11 and Muttiah Muralitharan averaged 45.45 therefore axing Hauritz who averaged 65.00 in India is harsh. Replacing him with Doherty is daft as how can you expect him to succeed at Test level when he hasn’t even succeeded let alone dominated first class cricket? The likelihood of him spinning Pietersen into therapy ala what Warne did to Daryll Cullinan is as likely as a horse winning next year’s Melbourne Cup from barrier 18.
Deep down Ponting knows just like Hauritz, Doherty has no X-Factor to stop the English from winning the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time since 1986.
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Written by Allan Jiang
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