Perth: In an extraordinary slap in the face for Ashes debutant Michael Beer, one of the men behind his remarkable rise to Test cricket has questioned the wisdom of his surprise selection.
Veteran West Australian selector Darryl Foster, part of the selection panel that handed Beer his first class debut just two months ago, offered a less than glowing endorsement to Wisden Cricket on the left-arm spinner.
"He`s OK," was Foster`s uninspiring assessment of Beer on a website, describing his elevation to the national side for the third Test starting at the WACA Ground on Thursday as a "panic selection".
Foster said Australia had fallen for the "three-card trick" in believing star English batsman Kevin Pietersen is vulnerable against left-arm spinners.
He questioned that assessment and doubted whether Beer would do any better than the nine other spinners that have come and gone since Shane Warne retired.
Foster said Beer, with just six first-class games and 16 wickets to his credit, was only "slightly better" than the spinner he replaced, Tasmanian Xavier Doherty.
"He seems to be a reasonably good competitor. Whether he`s class enough for that level, time will tell," Foster said of Beer.
"Doherty wasn`t up to that task and I don`t know that any left-arm spinner here would be up to it.”
"I think Beer is slightly better, he`s taller than Doherty, his action is good, he does get some drop and a bit of flight and he`s turned the ball on the WACA, which is surprising.”
"But I do think it`s a panic decision.”
"I don`t know why they are determined to play a spinner.”
"Once upon a time they would have played four quicks at the WACA and left it at that."
Foster`s comments came just 24 hours after 26-year-old Beer himself admitted he wasn`t sure if he was ready for the big stage of Test cricket.
"It is a hard one that," he said on Monday when asked if he was up to the challenge.