North focused on bowling
Australia's Marcus North has vowed to keep working on his off-spin bowling in the hope of becoming a genuine Test all-rounder.
Last Updated: 01/09/09 12:48pm
Australia's Marcus North has vowed to keep working on his off-spin in an effort to turn himself into a genuine Test all-rounder.
The 30-year-old has made a strong start to his Test career with the bat after being given a belated debut in South Africa in February.
He has scored three centuries in 12 innings to cement his spot at number six in Australia's batting order.
And North was also called on repeatedly by skipper Ricky Ponting during the deciding Test of the recent Ashes series after the tourists opted not to pick a specialist spin bowler at the Oval.
He responded with figures of 4-98 in the second innings to breathe some life into his country's attempt to win the Test and retain the Ashes.
His efforts may have ultimately proved fruitless as Australia failed to chase down a target of 546 in their second innings, but North is still determined to improve his bowling in case he is called on again.
"It's a game that, especially with my bowling there is always room for improvement," he said.
"It's something that I'll continue to try and improve to make sure that I can not just play a holding role, but hopefully play an attacking role if need be.
"I'm working very hard on my bowling, as much as (fellow top-order batsmen) Simon Katich and Michael Clarke is, to make sure that we can do a job.
"There might be some wickets or some conditions where our best chance of taking 20 wickets is going to be with four quicks and maybe myself and Clarke and Katich doing a bit of spin bowling.
"But I think that comes down to the selection and conditions, where we're playing and I guess who we're playing."
Despite so much riding on the final Ashes Test, North said he had not felt any extra pressure when asked to bowl out an English batting line-up that had withstood Australia's pace attack.
"I felt comfortable that I could play a certain role," he added. "Without a doubt, I don't think anyone knew the pitch was going to be that dry and turn as much.
"So it was nice to get a couple of wickets and get an opportunity to bowl for a long period of time with it turning.
"But no added pressure, I just thought I'd go out there and do the job that I felt I could do and try and do the best I could do for Ricky."