Nathan Hauritz hits out on his way to scoring 75 at the MCG.
Nathan Hauritz hits out on his way to scoring 75 at the MCG.

Hauritz learns from Mushtaq

NATHAN Hauritz and his wife Diane went to watch a movie in Sydney yesterday.

The 28-year-old former Hervey Bay cricketer will be hoping to watch something else at the SCG tomorrow – Pakistani wickets tumbling because of his bowling.

The second Test starts tomorrow and Hauritz, fresh from bowling Australia to victory in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, is not surprisingly keen to get the ball in his hands again after his career-best five for 101 in the second innings.

While Hauritz left the Pakistani batsmen in a spin, he revealed yesterday that it was a Pakistani off-spinner like himself who had helped him deliver the knockout blow.

During the Ashes tour of England last year, Hauritz tracked down former Test player Saqlain Mushtaq, regarded by many as one of the finest off spin bowlers of all time.

He spent six hours working with Mushtaq, the bowler who is credited with the invention of the “doosra”, an off-spinner’s delivery which is bowled with an action very similar to that of an off-break.

However, it spins in the opposite direction (i.e. from the leg side to the off side), easily confusing batsmen, making it a very effective weapon.

Hauritz said the time spent with Mushtaq had been time well spent.

“He’s a craftsman,” the former Torquay State School and Urangan State High School student said.

“He took over 200 wickets in 49 Tests and just short of 300 in one day Internationals so he knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level of the game.

“I learnt so much about the art of spin bowling in that session – it was great working with him.

“It has certainly changed the way I approach bowling now.”

But Mushtaq isn’t the player who’s had the major influence on Hauritz over the past year or so since he made his return to the Australian line-up.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting is the main man as far as Hauritz, who played his club cricket for Cavaliers in Hervey Bay, is concerned.

“There have been good days and there have been bad days but Ricky has always stood by me,” said the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year in 2003 and former Australian under-19 captain.

“He put his trust in me and gave me confidence and you cannot want for more than that.”

It is that sort of faith that in his bowling which means Hauritz is prepared to play through the pain barrier in order to help Australia’s cause.

“It has been a long 12 months and the body is suffering a bit (he’s suffering heel and groin injuries that will not be fully healed until he gets a decent rest following the March tour to New Zealand) but hey, it doesn’t get any better than putting on a baggy green and playing for your country,”.

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