Doherty keen to take chance
Xavier Doherty is determined make the most of his opportunity after being named in Australia's squad for the first Ashes Test.
Last Updated: 20/11/10 12:15pm
Xavier Doherty is determined make the most of the opportunity presented to him after being named in Australia's 13-man squad for the first Ashes Test.
The left-arm off-spinner has been selected ahead of the more highly fancied Nathan Hauritz, and looks set to make his debut against England in Brisbane on Thursday.
Although Hauritz has given solid performances as Australia's first-choice spinner, Doherty has pushed himself into contention by way of his 50-over form as well as some strong Sheffield Shield performances for Tasmania.
The 27-year-old says he is delighted to get the opportunity to represent his country, but wants to play a full role at the Gabba and cement his place in the side.
"I'm on top of the world at the moment, I couldn't be happier. When I got the phone call this morning I couldn't really believe it. I'm very excited," Doherty said.
"I hope (I get a decent crack at it), but I guess that's up to me. I've got the chance now to make an impact, and I feel like I'm in pretty good form and can do that."
"The ball's in my court to have some sort of impact and stamp my authority on the spinner's spot."
Doherty might have long caught the eye in the shortened formats of the game, but his chances of a Test place were thought to be non-existent until only recently.
Never mind at an international level, Doherty has faced competition from Jason Krejza to gain recognition as his state's number one spinner but has shown improved form of late.
"I average 48 (in the Sheffield Shield), which isn't pretty, but I think that average is over 35 games maybe, and my first 25 games I averaged 60 or something," he said.
"I haven't been picked on my form over the last 35 games, I've been picked for my form over the last eight or nine."
While few doubt that Doherty can be economical, the challenge is to step up and take wickets.
Encouraged by Stephen O'Keefe's success for Australia A against England this week, Doherty said he was ready to play either role.
"There will be times where my job will be to hold up one end and let the quicks go from the other, and there'll be times when I need to attack and take the wickets I've needed," he added.
"Even over the last two weeks for Tasmania I've played both those roles, so I think I can fit in to whatever's asked of me."