Potchefstroom: Michael Bevan hopes to make a belated appearance at the World Cup when defending champion Australia takes on minnows Namibia in a group 'A' match on Thursday.
The left-hander has not had a chance to bat, bowl or take a catch in the four matches so far which Australia won easily to become the first team to book a place in the Super Sixes. Victories over Namibia and England at Port Elizabeth on Sunday will see Australia end the preliminary league as the only side with an all-win record.
Bevan was padded up to come in next when Darren Lehmann and Damien Martyn hit half- centuries to guide the champions home by seven wickets against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo on Monday. The One-day specialist could, however, get his chance to bat on Thursday after captain Ricky Ponting indicated he may elevate Bevan from his customary number six place in the order against Namibia. "We'll have to think about that, for sure," Ponting said after the Zimbabwe romp. "Another game has gone by without Bevo having a hit. That was the only thing that was disappointing to come out of the game. We've played four games and he hasn't had a bat yet, so we'll have to look at that."
Bevan though was not worried at having to cool his heels in the pavilion. "There's no doubt I'll get my opportunity to play a batting role soon," he said. "Batting at number six gives me the opportunity to bat in a number of different situations and I'm sure I'll be at the crease at some stage. "The top-order is performing extremely well and that is helping us win games." This is not the first time that Bevan has had nothing to do. During the 1996 World Cup in the Indian sub-continent, he did not get to bat till the semi-finals, but the lack of match practice was not a hindrance. As Australia was reduced to 15 for 4 by the West Indies in the semi-final at Mohali in northern India, Bevan stepped in to hit 69 and guide his team to a competitive 207.
The West Indies fell short by five runs and in the final against Sri Lanka in Lahore, Bevan contributed an unbeaten 36 off 49 balls but could not save his side from defeat. Besides trying to find some work for Bevan, the Australian captain was also worried at his bowlers' inability to stop runs in the slog overs after Zimbabwe recovered from 142 for 6 to 246 for 9. Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie bore the brunt of a powerful assault from Andy Blignaut who plundered eight boundaries and two sixes in 54 off 28 balls. "We didn't bowl well at the end," Ponting said.
"Brett was not at his best then. We've got some work to do there. It has been a bit of a problem of ours over the last couple of years, bowling at the death. "We've got to go away and work on that and make sure it's a bit sharper the next time we play." Meanwhile, Namibia, playing its first World Cup, is still recovering from a 181-run battering by India on Sunday in which Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly hit centuries. Namibian captain Deon Kotze brushed aside the prospect of another heavy defeat, saying his team was excited at the chance to play against the best team in the world. "It can't get better than this," Kotze said. Copyright AFP 2001