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~~Weak link~~ Hogg ready to take on challenge

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
 
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Brad HoggMelbourne: Unfazed at comments made by Indian skipper identifying Hogg as the weak link in the strong Aussie line up, the chinaman is confident of his success in the Test series and believes that he had learnt the art of patience.

Hogg, who last played against Zimbabwe in 2003, said, ''I've always wanted to be in a rush.'' But now it has changed and the 36-year-old said he had learnt the art of patience.

''It's like being out in the middle. I'm trying to get wickets all the time. But at Test level you've got to work on it.

''You've got to starve the batsman and then set him up. You've got to make sure you bowl in tandem with the bloke up the other end, and that will be my job if I am in,'' he said.

Kumble's remarks come only two days after his off-spinning teammate, Harbhajan Singh, said India's batsmen would feast on the left-arm wrist of Hogg, who was ''not close to the class'' of the retired Shane Warne or the injured Stuart MacGill.

Interestingly, even Warne and MacGill struggled to replicate their exceptional career records against India.

Indian batsmen known to be good against spinners and batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, can play wrist spin almost in their sleep.

But Hogg is not losing sleep over it and said, ''It's great to get an opportunity to play against the best players of spin.'' adding, ''You've got to go in with a bit of confidence.'' Hogg though is ecstatic to get a chance to represent his country in the prestigious Boxing Day Test match.

''Being able to play a couple of Test matches has been sensational in my career but to be able to represent Australia in a Boxing Day Test match, even if I am 12th man, it just makes me ecstatic. It's just great to be able to achieve something that you've always wanted as a child,'' he was quoted as saying by The Age.

Hogg recently took 11 wickets at 22.63 in the one-day series against India, where the batsmen struggled to pick his wrong run, and has 13 wickets at 30.69 in four Pura Cup matches so far this summer.

It is because of Hogg's percieved susceptibility to decieve most batsmen in world cricket that has given him the prized Test berth.

''We think he'll do really well, most countries and most batsmen seem to have some difficulty reading him, so I think he's ready to make that step,'' said Australian chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch.

''Hoggy, performance-wise, what he offers to the side is a real good package, so we've really very little doubt about how he'll perform at Test level.'' Both Hilditch and Australian coach Tim Nielsen have endorsed the traditional structure of three seamers and a front-line spinner, but have retained the option of using the pace of Tait as a shock weapon if the conditions warrant four quicks. Although so far this season, the drop-in pitch at the MCG has been low and slow.

UNI

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