EXCLUSIVE: Mohammed Siraj Would Have Made Difference For India In WTC Final, Playing Two Spinners Was Unusual Decision, Says Nathan Hauritz | Cricket News



NEW DELHI: It was in 2004 when 23-year-old Nathan Hauritz, a spinner from Wondai, Queensland, received his debut cap. It was a test against India, the fourth and final test in a four-game series, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Hauritz, who played under Ricky Ponting, impressed everyone by claiming five wickets in the game, including the precious scalps of Indian batting legends Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.
Interestingly, Hauritz also played the last test match of his career against India and managed to send MS Dhoni and Cheteshwar Pujara back to the hut at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
Hauritz has fond memories of his first match and the Indian crowd, as well as visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal in Agra.
TimesofIndia.com caught up with former Australian cricketer, who played 17 tests, 58 ODIs and 3 T20Is from 2004-2011 to talk about India’s performance at WTC, captain Virat Kohli, of the l India in Australia’s test series, life after retirement, being in Brisbane who is in lockdown and more.

(Nathan Hauritz played the first and last Test of his career against India – Twitter Photo)
Excerpts …
How was life after retirement?
We are in Brisbane in full confinement. We have been very lucky and blessed with what is happening all over the world. I also played a bit of cricket and was a coach. I am currently involved in full time coaching at an academy in Brisbane. I’m really busy training. The last few days have been relaxing for me. I’m just catching my breath and rejuvenating myself before the start of the season.
What did you think went wrong for India in the WTC final?
The Indian hitters did not use the conditions well. They did not judge the conditions. The middle order of India is not pulling at the moment. That was the reason. A lot was on Virat’s shoulder and he knows it. The decision to play two spinners in England, where it was raining, was a very unusual decision. Better to have tried your luck with the setters. I think Siraj would have made a difference. He did well in Australia and his inclusion would have been great.

(New Zealand defeated India by eight wickets in the World Trials Championship final – Reuters Photo)
Will this final WTC defeat have an impact on Virat’s men ahead of the England Test series, do you think?
I do not think so. You play at such a level when you are mentally strong and leave the bad things behind and move on. It’s really important that you move forward fairly quickly, take a look at everything, see what’s going on, and make improvements where necessary. You can’t really focus on what happened, you have to keep moving forward and keep focusing on the next game.
You made your Test debut against India and played your last Test against India. Your favorite cricket memory …
For me, my favorite moment would have been playing my first Test against India. Bringing Tendulkar out on my first test was amazing. I loved the Indians, the crowd, the fans, the buzz around. It was such an amazing environment to be a part of. On a travel note, going to the Taj Mahal was just amazing.

(VVS Laxman, left, and MS Dhoni – TOI Photo)
You played against former Indian captains Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni. Now Virat is leading the camp. What big difference do you see in Virat’s styles of captain vis-à-vis Dravid and Dhoni?
Virat Kohli is very passionate. You can definitely see him in his game and he wants to win every game. Rahul Dravid and Dhoni were both very calm when they were captains. The difference I think between the parties is that the (current) team is rebuilding itself. Listen, back when you had Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Dhoni, (Sourav) Ganguly, (Virender) Sehwag, and (Gautam) Gambhir. It was an incredibly strong batting lineup. While this one is now a very young team that is rebuilding itself and that is something that they need to make sure they keep building from here.
Would you compare Virat the Captain to someone like Ricky Ponting?
It’s quite difficult to compare. Virat’s passion is second to none in the world. Ricky Ponting was also an avid gamer. The two showed their passion in a different way. And the way they approach the game, Virat is probably one of the best drummers to ever play the game. He has been a fantastic leader. The WTC final did not go the way he would have liked. But he was affected by the rain. So I think it’s really important to stay true to himself and what the team needs to work on and he needs to deliver that message and be responsible as a leader.

(Virat Kohli leads the Indian team after losing WTC final to New Zealand – PTI Photo)
India has won two consecutive test rounds in Australia. Have they lost the bad traveler label now?
I think the stigma will always be there for the side that hasn’t traveled well. It’s going to be hard to break. They played well against Australia and had some really key moments. And look in Australia mainly, they are very hard to beat on their own soil. But I think the Indian side, at the moment, has performed well enough to probably justify getting rid of that tag.
The Indian team led by Virat won their first Border-Gavaskar series against Australia, without Steve Smith and David Warner. In the ensuing round, India lost the Adelaide test and won the round of tests under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane. Which Indian triumph would you call the best?
Virat had been a fantastic leader. He left and Rahane did very well and took the victory in India. It is very difficult to choose one or the other all the time. You have to support the leader, and like him (Virat) does his best job. And like I said earlier, it’s not just the leader, it’s the whole group. It’s part of their team and just needs to find ways to improve every day. Get a little better every day.



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