Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty is not the answer to the Australia’s spin problem in the ongoing Ashes series, according to noted cricket commentator Peter Roebuck.
Doherty had an ordinary Test debut in the Ashes opener, where he finished with match figures of 2-148, while in the ongoing second Test at the Adelaide Oval he was bashed around to finish day three on 0-120 from 24 overs.
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“Hard as it is to write about an admirable young man and early as it is to reach any conclusion about any player, one fact has stood out as the Australians have toiled for wickets over days that seemed to last forever,” Roebuck said.
“Xavier Doherty is not the answer to the spin problem. Until he adds to his repertoire the selectors need to look elsewhere,” he wrote in his syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Better to admit a mistake than to compound it. At present the lefty lacks the resources needed to trouble accomplished batsmen on docile pitches. He does not give the ball enough of a tweak and does not befuddle batsmen through the air.
“Nor does he possess a subtle change of pace or the shock delivery that sets top practitioners apart. Instead he relies on bounce and a little turn,” he added.
Roebuck further compared the youngster to England off-spinner Graeme Swann, and said that part of the reason England prospered on the first day in Adelaide was because Swann was able to adjust his style to suit both pitch and position.
“His (Swann’s) captain could throw him the ball confident that he’d stay in control of the game and hopeful that he might collect a wicket. His counterpart lacks that capability,” Roebuck wrote.
“Admittedly Swann is an old hand and also the highest-ranked spinner around. And he was made, not born. Not so very long ago he was dismissed as a ne’er do well with a swollen head.
“Doherty is a novice learning his trade and a newcomer playing in his first matches on this stage. Naturally he is anxious not to fail,” he added.