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Doherty pips O'Keefe for Test squad spot
Greg Buckle
18:44 AEST Thu Jan 31 2013

Tasmanian tweaker Xavier Doherty's first-class record this season of two wickets at an average of 80 isn't going to strike fear into the hearts of India's batsmen.

But Doherty, who fought off a challenge from fellow left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe for a spot in Australia's 17-man squad named on Thursday, says his recent form in limited-overs international cricket has left him in a confident mood ahead of the four-Test tour.

Doherty's hopes of a recall, after playing in the Brisbane and Adelaide Tests in his debut series against England in November-December 2010, rest largely on just how spin-friendly the pitches of Chennai, Hyderabad, Mohali and Delhi turn out to be.

Offspinner Nathan Lyon is a certainty for the Test XI and spin-bowling allrounder Glenn Maxwell is circling for a possible Test debut, as is seam-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques.

"Growing up at (Hobart's) Bellerive Oval, you could probably understand the reason my bowling average (119 wickets at 44.78 in 51 first-class matches) is a little more than what most international spinners are," Doherty told AAP on Thursday.

"If anyone had seen the wickets that we've served up at Bellerive earlier this season, you'd probably understand why I've only got two wickets so far.

"They're just trying to pick people who are in form. Stevie O'Keefe has bowled well over the last few weeks as well (taking 4-55 and 4-47 for NSW in last week's Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia).

"Having not played a Shield game for a while (since November), I guess my Shield form almost becomes irrelevant.

"They (selectors) have probably just looked at the last eight weeks.

"Having not had the chance to bowl the red ball, all I could do was bowl as well as I could in the form of the game that I was playing."

Doherty's recent form has been excellent, grabbing 1-30 and 2-21 in Australia's Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka after picking up 3-21 off eight overs in the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka in Hobart on January 23.

"The best way to answer my critics is to put in and perform," Doherty said.

"But that's not the over-riding motivation for doing well. It's the chance to win some games for Australia.

"Playing at this level, you do get your knockers but that's just part of it."


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