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Henriques mature enough for Test call-up
By Ben Horne and Justin Chadwick
18:00 AEST Thu Jan 31 2013

Expectation has followed and occasionally devoured Moises Henriques for so long that Australia's newest allrounder is not as wet behind the ears as it might seem heading into his debut Test tour.

Tipped to wear the baggy green since he was a 16-year-old playing first-grade cricket for St George, Henriques' opportunity has come a decade later - announced in the squad on Thursday, the day before his 26th birthday.

Henriques and Victorian Glenn Maxwell have been selected as the allrounders and only uncapped players in a 17-man squad for the four-Test trip to India, with vice-captain Shane Watson picked as a specialist batsman.

Australia has been rocked by the retirement of Mike Hussey, and debuting in India shapes as a daunting prospect.

But battle-hardened in both mind and body, Henriques has learnt through his triumphs, injuries and form slumps to balance his outlook on cricket and not become consumed by its pressures.

"I think I've become a lot calmer and more relaxed in my approach to cricket," Henriques said.

"I've become a lot more balanced off the field. I don't put as much pressure on myself to do well and, when I don't do well, it doesn't stay with me for the next fixture.

"In the past, I've been scarred by poor performances or injuries and now I just try and take it as a game of cricket.

"It was certainly a learning curve ... and it took time for me to learn from.

"Although we do it as a profession, you've got to do it because you love it as well."

Henriques recognises the opportunity he has in Watson's absence to cement his position in India - especially with back-to-back Ashes series to also follow throughout the year.

As state teammates for NSW, similar-style players and injury-prone athletes - Watson has been a mentor for Henriques, and he'll lean on him for support in India.

The seam bowling allrounder averages 18 with the ball and 77 with the bat this summer in Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW and feels at the top of his game.

Henriques gets the stitches out on Friday following finger surgery and will be right to resume full training and playing duties once the first group of players travels to India next week.

"I've been working hard for a long time to get my game up to this standard," he said.

"Shane Watson's obviously going to keep working on his bowling in the future but it's a little window here for me to show everyone what I can do."

Xavier Doherty was picked as the second spinner alongside Nathan Lyon for the tour, edging out Steve O'Keefe.

It seems if both spinners play, Henriques will be selected alongside two specialist pace bowlers.

Alternatively, if three quicks are picked, Maxwell might get the nod to complement Lyon in the spin department.

Five pace bowlers have been selected - with James Pattinson to be fully fit by the first Test on February 22.

National selector John Inverarity said Usman Khawaja would likely play in the first Test, with recalled NSW batsman Steve Smith the back-up option.

Inverarity said opener David Warner should be fit for the first Test, and no decision had been made on whether Watson would join him as the other opener at the expense of Ed Cowan.

"(Watson) will be in the top four. Whether he opens or not is yet to be determined," Inverarity said.

"It's a large squad, and we felt (two spinners) were needed for that flexibility."