Sydney: Tasmanian left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty faces a spin bowling shootout with New South Wales off-spinner Nathan Hauritz this week, but his state coach feels he could miss out on the Ashes opener in Brisbane.
The left-armed finger spinner was arguably the surprise pick in the initial 17-man squad for the first Test against England starting in Brisbane on Thursday week.
With skipper Ricky Ponting committing himself to playing a spinner, the performances of Doherty and Hauritz in the Sheffield Shield game commencing at the SCG on Wednesday could prove decisive.
Doherty said: “I guess it’s probably come down to that given the fact that they (the national selectors) will cut it (the squad) back by the end of the week. They are obviously looking at something this week, I guess this week’s performances probably won’t hurt to much.”
Doherty, who broke into the Australian one-day team earlier this season, has a modest career first-class average of 48.80.
He acknowledged his career had taken off in the last few months after at one stage finding himself left out of the Tasmanian team behind rival spinner Jason Krejza.
However Doherty, who turns 28 next Monday, believes he has become a better bowler since breaking back into the Tigers’ four-day team toward the end of last season.