ON the international cricket sidelines at present, Xavier Doherty is confident he has got his bowling back to the level that first allowed him break into Australian one-day international team.
In news that might make Nathan Lyon and any other potential ODI spinners look over their shoulder, the 31-year-old is confident he can again be used as an attacking spin option with the white ball, rather than just purely a defensive one.
Doherty has used the recent events in his cricket life, including losing his Cricket Australia contract and being dropped from the ODI side, as motivation to get his bowling back in shape.
He admits his bowling had gone ‘‘off track’’, a far cry from the attacking left-arm spinner who took 4-46 on debut in 2010.
‘‘It [being dropped] has given me a chance to concentrate on my own game without having too much else to worry about,’’ Doherty told The Examiner.
‘‘While it is a negative that I’m not over there [in Zimbabwe] playing, I think my game is in good shape now as I’ve been able alter a few things.
‘‘My bowling wasn’t quite where it should have been last year [with Doherty taking just nine wickets in 17 ODIs from the start of 2013], but at the moment I feel as good as I have in a few years, and I’m keen to get some match practice in.’’
He said he’d been keeping an eye on Australia’s performances against Zimbabwe and South Africa, where Lyon was selected in front of him, but his immediate focus was on Hobart Hurricanes’ Champions League campaign, which begins on September 19 against George Bailey’s Kings XI Punjab.
‘‘One-day cricket is changing all the time, and hopefully I can keep on adjusting and keep myself in the frame for another opportunity, hopefully pretty soon.
‘‘There won’t anything funky from me [at the Champions League], as it has just about becoming better, as my bowling probably plateaued a little bit after an almost rapid rise over the years after coming into the one-day team, with that whirlwind first taste of it.
‘‘Having the opportunity to work on my game, I’ve been able to refine some of the things which were my strengths back then, including spinning the ball and being able to consistently challenge the batsmen and being an attacking, versatile bowler, which I think died away in my game as I got into a real defensive mode.’’
He admits playing in a home World Cup next year, the tournament he missed out on in India in 2011 due to injury, is a goal he would like to achieve, but knows that dream is still a long way off.
‘‘At the end of the day, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my mind somewhere, but first and foremost it is about putting some good performances on the board, whether it is for the Hurricanes or Tasmania.''
Hurricanes primed for a big season – Page 34.