Sydney, Jan.19 (ANI): Nathan Hauritz's rise from the pit into which Australians routinely consign humdrum finger spinners to his newfound status as authentic Test tweaker has been the surprise of the summer, believes noted columnist Peter Roebuck.
"It is a tale of a born-and-bred cricketer blessed with modest ability who refused to go away. It is the story of an insecure man who dared to put himself in the front line, an audacity he periodically regretted," says Roebuck in article for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Hauritz does not fit the caricature of the Australian cricketer.... Somewhere along the way, Hauritz learned to believe in himself. Somehow he convinced his harshest critic - himself - that he had a part to play in the scheme of things. Gradually, he stopped measuring himself against Shane Warne and history and other rainbows. Somewhere along the line, he learned to take setbacks and barbs and sixes in his stride," Roebuck adds.
Roebuck says that nothing in Hauritz's early work suggested he was going to break the mould.
Called up to play 50-overs cricket, he kept a length but seemed incapable of making the ball turn. By general reckoning, his bowling lacked venom. Still, his figures were respectable and he held his place.
Australians like their spinners to rip the tops off bottles. He did not fit the bill.
"Aware of his limitations, Hauritz continued working on his game. His ears were always open, his mind always sifting and searching. From afar, his technique hardly changed. In fact, he was constantly making minor adjustments to wrist, grip, arm and fingers. It was not so much ambition that drove him on. He loved the game that tormented him. Most of all, he wanted to become a top-class bowler, and that meant Test cricket," says Roebuck.
"He concentrated on bowling slower and spinning the ball further. Ironically, these changes almost ruined his career. Given his first Test cap on a crumbling pitch in Mumbai, he tossed the ball up and was carted. Michael Clarke took a bagful with exactly the sort of flat tweakers required for the occasion. Observers scoffed. Hauritz did not look the part. And still he refused to go away. Instead he moved to Sydney, regarded as the home of spin, and pressed for a regular place in the Shield team," says Roebuck.
Eventually, he prevailed. According to Roebuck, Hauritz's bowling this summer has reflected his changed attitude and increasing confidence.
"He began to vary his pace and try a more aggressive line. Far from going into his shell, he accepted criticism and confronted weak points. Melbourne was the breakthrough. On the final morning he talked with Warne and emerged with head higher and shoulder action stronger. He took his first five-wicket haul. Most of his victims left shaking their heads. Several had tried to smite him out of the stadium," Roebuck adds.
"Persistence has paid off. The thinking has been rewarded. Hauritz has earned the place he commands and the respect he craves," he concludes. (ANI)