Defensive form of attack

THE one word that goes through Ben Laughlin's head each time he runs in to bowl is defence.

"There's a lot of defence with my bowling, as I'm just trying to bowl dots really," he said this week.

"I'm just trying to get them through to the 'keeper and just keeping it simple by bowling to my field."

It is a philosophy that served Laughlin well in last year's Big Bash League, with his "fast off-spinners" making the Hobart Hurricane the bowler of the tournament.

The 31-year-old took 14 wickets in his eight matches at an average of 15.53 and an economy rate of 7.16, with his work at the death tremendous.

This earned him a recall to the national team and success that even surprised him.

"For a guy that really bowls medium pace off- spinners, it really was all a bit weird," Laughlin said.

"It's a style of bowling that has developed, as when I was younger it was all about trying to get wickets with the new ball.

"But I found I was more effective with the older ball in the longer form of cricket, and with T20 cricket, it has suited me more towards the defensive back-end of the game and it seems to be a bit of a `niche' market I've picked up on."

Laughlin is the stereotypical T20 specialist, playing in tournaments in New Zealand and Sri Lanka as well as the IPL, with a career record of 47 wickets in 37 matches at an average of 23.06 and an economy rate of 7.75.

He said these were places he never imagined cricket would take him.

But while he admits any chance of getting a baggy green is probably beyond him, he would love to add to his five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.

For the Hurricanes, he is aiming to keep that economy rate at around seven this season, with wickets a by- product of that.

"It's a pretty exciting squad, and I wouldn't want to be Damien Wright as we're picking the team as we've got some in-form batsmen," Laughlin said.

Hobart, who has a full- strength squad to choose from apart from the injured Ben Hilfenhaus and Dimitri Mascarenhas, will launch its campaign tomorrow against the Adelaide Strikers at home, starting from 1.45pm.

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