Doherty eager to make an impact
Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty is determined to seize his opportunity after he was named in Australia's 13-man squad for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
Doherty's selection, at the expense of the more highly-fancied Nathan Hauritz, all but guarantees his debut in the baggy green at the Gabba on Thursday.
While Hauritz has been a solid performer as first-choice spinner for the Australians, Doherty has pushed to the top of the pecking order on the strength of his 50-over form with the national side and some improved four-day performance for the Tigers.
Delighted as he may be to have been granted a chance to represent his country, the Tasmanian will not be satisfied unless he can play his part for Ricky Ponting and cement a 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 has long been on the radar for the National Selection Panel in the shortened formats of the game, but until recently, his chances for higher honours with the red ball were thought to be non-existent.
A first-class bowling average of 48 does little to inspire confidence in Doherty’s ability, yet the 27-year-old is keen to turn the spotlight on his recent form.
"I average 48 (in the Sheffield Shield), which isn't pretty,” he admitted. “But I think that average is over 35 games maybe, and my first 25 games I averaged 60 or something.
"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.
"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 think I can fit in to whatever's asked of me.”