Oz to use Katich, Clarke as surprise spin weapon

Chandigarh: Australian batsmen Simon Katich and Michael Clarke are likely to take on spinners role along with Nathan Hauritz when they play India in the first Test at Mohali from next week.

The objective of this exercise appears to be to ensure team balance not only for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, but also for the upcoming Ashes series.

Katich, 35, has used the eight-week break since Australia’s Test series against Pakistan to overcome shoulder problems and return to bowling his chinamen regularly in the SCG nets.

“I think more people get enjoyment out of watching me bowl than bat,” a cricket website quoted Katich, as saying.

“I guess there’s normally something happening when I’m bowling. I’m either getting hit for six or burgling a wicket, so I can see why people might think it’s entertaining. Seriously, though, the key to the success of this team is having 11 contributors. In the past we could probably get away with the Warnes and McGraths and Pontings winning Test matches almost single-handed,” he added. “But now we need an even spread of contributors. The spinners have a big workload here. I was bowling for about three or four weeks before we came over, preparing myself to help out,” Katich said.

Clarke’s back troubles have made him similarly reluctant to bowl in recent seasons, but Australian coach Tim Nielsen revealed the vice-captain was ready to go if needed.

Katich and Clarke have best Test returns of 6-65 and 6-9 respectively-alongside specialist spinner Nathan Hauritz and off-spinning batsman Marcus North gives Australia a tremendously varied slow attack for the two-Test series against India, the Ashes and the World Cup.