Melbourne: The chairman of Australia"s cricket selection committee, Andrew Hilditch, has said that off-spinner Jason Krejza could be preferred to all rounder Shane Watson for the first Test against the South Africans, beginning next week.
According to Fox Sports, Krejza appears to be the favourite to play ahead of the recalled Shane Watson despite Watson''s outstanding Sheffield Shield match for Queensland last week, when he claimed 7-69 and then scored 81.
"The likelihood is we will play a spinner in Perth. They bowl pretty well there. The breeze suits them, particularly off-spinners. Generally it is a pretty good place to bowl spin," Hilditch said.
While off-spinners bowling into the prevailing Fremantle Doctor do get good drift away from the right-handers, Perth is hardly a happy hunting ground for slow bowlers.
Of Australia''s eight current Test venues, including Darwin and Cairns, Shane Warne always found Perth the least spinner-friendly. He had his worst bowling average of any Australian ground there at 36.46.
The last Australia off-spinner to play in Perth was Colin Miller a decade ago, but he was chosen as much for his medium pace into the breeze as his spin.
In the pre-Warne era, Australia often played four fast bowlers in Perth, with Greg Matthews the off-spinner used there before Miller. Matthews bowled two overs for 16 runs against England in 1991.
Krejza has played just one of his 20 Shield matches at the WACA Ground, claiming 2-180 from 45 overs.
Despite a 12-wicket debut during the last Test against India in Nagpur a month ago, Krejza was left out of the first Test against New Zealand in Brisbane, where wild storms created seamer-friendly conditions.
Watson played but was dropped for the second Test in more spin-friendly Adelaide and Krejza was set to play his first Test on home soil until badly twisting an ankle at training two days before the match.
Australia: Ricky Ponting (c), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark, Jason Krejza, Shane Watson (12th man to be named).