What annoys me is the common notion that Doherty was solely put in as a left-armer to remove KP. Jesus Christ, KP is not the navel of the world, especially not in his current form. There are 20 wickets to take and if they play a left-arm spinner they do it because there lie chances in this strategy. Ritz has not only looked suboptimal in India, which I am not even considering here, and which many people attribute to Ponting's captaincy, but also in the home matches so far, where he was not playing under Ponting, but for NSW.
|Ritz: engulfed by the Australian Spinners Maelstrom|
Doherty on the other hand has had a good recent past at Tassie and has looked significantly better in the last domestic matches than Ritz, who is also horribly low on confidence at the moment, the latest blow being his dropped catch in the NSW-Tassie Shield match, which directly led to NSW's defeat.
In the three Shield matches played so far Doherty has taken 11 wickets at 2.39 at an average of 27.45. Ritz only managed 4 wickets at 38.75 from the same number of matches, econ 3.69; that includes a 3-wicket haul, which means that he only took 1 wicket in 5 innings. Compared to Doherty's 126 overs Ritz only bowled 42, which is pretty telling in terms of the faith Captain Kat puts in him.
I am not from the Subcontinent, but if I were I would say that Punter and Kat knew Ritz would get axed and thus Kat felt no need to bowl Ritz into form and relied more on his seamers in order to increase NSW's chances, while at Tassie Doherty got a decent ride out to run himself warm.
Okay okay... at the Gabba Ritz took 1-7 from just two overs simply because the seamers had cleaned up QLD within 2 days. Not only this result but also the bowling figures in the recent QLD-SA match, in which the captains entirely decided against the use of spinners (Chris Swan 13 wickets, Rob Cassell 7, Gary Putland 5), lead me to my other theory: what can't be excluded is that Doherty only got added as a token spinner and they'll go in with four quicks, relying on North, Katich, and Clarke to spin it if needed.
Furthermore it might have played a role that new kids usually grab a bag of wickets on debut, the examples are legion. Both Doherty and O'Keefe did so in their maiden Oz matches. So over all I can understand the selectors here; if you compare the general figures given above, and also the current levels of confidence, it makes sense to put Doherty in.
However: I still have Ritz' good Oz summer of 2009/10 in mind and also his decent performance in the last Ashes, and would hence probably not have axed him.
And if I had I'd have added Steve O'Keefe. Yes he is the most massive of my bandwagons, but his performance in the A-team match versus a full strength English batting line-up and an excellent seam attack made me slide out in my own drool every five minutes. I've already lauded his enthusingly stubborn 66 in a previous post, but now add to that 4 wickets at 22 apiece and the scalp of bloody KP. Yes if you really want to go for a KP bonus you should pick O'Keefe for increased snake v rabbit effect. Besides he always performed greatly in the A-side (does anyone remember his 7-35 and 108 runs against Sri Lanka A?) and one would actually assume that he must be a prime target of every selector's attention. Doherty can't offer such credentials.
|Phil Hughes quite obviously picked the wrong sport. Somebody should tell him. |
Also Keef batted well enough in the second innings to enable Cam White to get a century and Oz to avoid an innings defeat and that also gives him a batting average of 46.5 for this match hehe. Yes I rate him in pretty much every aspect. Open your minds, give in to your hearts, I know you want it!
Right, apart from Cam White's good looking century I'd like to mention Phil Hughes equally attractive 81, imho at least Cam White has to be put on the list of possible future Test players, and little Hughesless needs to perform like this more frequently, because after the Ashes, at the latest after the World Cup, we will hopefully see a bit of fresh blood in the side.
That was a long text about some short work.