| John Buchanan and Ricky Ponting during practice at the Eden on Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta, Nov. 15: Shane Warne once said Brad Hogg is all set to follow in his footsteps. The left-arm spinner himself doesn’t know whether he is that good, but he made no bones about the fact that he has learnt the tricks of the trade from the great man himself.
“I’ve learnt a lot bowling with him. It’s a great experience working in tandem with such a great bowler,” Hogg said.
The spinner is also waiting… “We’re all waiting for the day when Shane comes back into action,” Hogg added after a three-and-half hour training session at the Eden Gardens Saturday.
It was an optional session with five players — Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Brad Williams, Nathan Bracken and Damien Martyn deciding to skip practice. Gilchrist, in fact utilised the opportunity to do an ad-shoot in the city. Hogg also added that it is a mutual learning process between him, Stuart MacGill and Warne. “We help each other out in nets and it helps us in the long run,” Hogg said.
He also mentioned about the Indian influence that helped him hone the skills. “I interacted with Bishan Singh Bedi when I was in Delhi during this tour itself. I also had the opportunity to work under Srinivas Venkatraghavan in Chennai some years back. “Both the sessions had been immensely fruitful,” the spinner said.
He feels it’s one of the biggest challenges to bowl on Indian pitches against some of the best batsmen in the world,” he said.
Hogg is also relishing the prospect of bowling to Sourav Ganguly, who is known to be one of the best players of left-arm spin. “Greater the challenge, greater the motivation to perform,” he said, adding that the Indian captain was his first Test wicket. In fact, it was Hogg who denied Sourav the record of scoring three centuries in his first three Tests, dismissing the Indian captain for 66 in New Delhi in 1996.
Meanwhile, Andy Bichel, one of the chief architects of Australia’s World Cup triumph, is not yet certain whether he will get the nod when India tour Down Under. But the lion-hearted paceman believes “it is this depth that makes Australia such a great side”.
“Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie will be back. But I’ll also try my best to make the squad,” he said. He had a look at the Eden Gardens wicket, and feels it will assist the slower bowlers. “But that does not deter our enthusiasm to go and give it our best in front of so many people. In fact, versus India at the Eden Gardens it will be such a great spectacle,” Bichel added.
The paceman felt the Indian tour has been a great learning curve for him. “We came here as underdogs and now we’re in the finals. During this tour, I’ve learnt how to bowl on pitches which are not really responsive to pace bowling. But still, I could have done with a few more wickets,” he added.