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Simon Mathew Katich

04 August, 2006

Not unlike fellow tourist Brad Hodge, Simon Katich's first-class record is enough in itself to disquiet England fans.A character much admired by team-mates and opponents alike, the Western Australian does not conform to the outright aggression which so ch

Full name: Simon Mathew Katich

Date of Birth: August 21, 1975

Place of Birth:Middle Swan, Western Australia

Major teams: Australia, Durham, Hampshire, New South Wales, Western Australia, Yorkshire

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm chinaman

Height: 1.82 m

Career statistics:

Test debut:  England v Australia at Leeds - Aug 16-20, 2001 

ODI debut:  Australia v Zimbabwe at Melbourne - Jan 21, 2001  

Twenty20 Int. debut:  New Zealand v Australia at Auckland - Feb 17, 2005

First-class span:  1996/97 - 2005/06

List A span:  1995/96 - 2005/06

Twenty20 span:  2003 - 2005/06


For Simon Katich 2005-06 was the most difficult season of his career. Lost from the Test radar after being bamboozled by Muttiah Muralitharan in the Super Series and failing against West Indies, he spent the rest of the summer clinging to his one-day spot ahead of Phil Jaques and Matthew Hayden. But as he sat in the Gabba's gymnasium after his first ODI century helped Australia to a come-from-behind victory in the VB Series finals, he knew he'd survived. "It's one thing I've managed to do this summer - hang in there," he said. The sleepless nights could stop for a while. Despite being the pyjama side's third-highest run-scorer in Australia last summer, Katich also knows the top of the limited-overs order, a vacancy he has filled since being touted as a World Cup opener in 2004-05, will not be a safe seat. As Adam Gilchrist's rockets launch in the first 15 overs, Katich deflects arrows and absorbs punches as he follows the team management plan. His batting is not pretty or powerful and he may not be many young boys' role model, but the side recognises his importance as a vital role player, especially in a top-order crisis.

A batting backlog is blocking a Test return and at 30 Katich faces a fight against the clock to add to his 23 matches. Ever since he was included in Western Australia's state squad in 1994-95 he looked destined for bigger things. His talents were on show in 1998-99 when he amassed 1039 first-class runs, including 115 in the final won by Western Australia, and earned a spot on the tour to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Katich was on the brink of a Test call-up in Sri Lanka when he contracted chicken pox and was quarantined. Unable to free himself of a virus that overcame him in the wake of that illness, he was forced to sit out much of the 1999-2000 domestic summer, but after a stellar 2000-01 - 1282 first-class runs and a century against every state - he was picked for the 2001 Ashes tour. Replacing the injured Steve Waugh for the fourth Test, he made 15 and 0 not out on debut and had to wait two years for an opportunity against Zimbabwe, when his occasional left-arm chinaman bowling was surprisingly effective. He took 6 for 65 in the second innings in Sydney, which is now his home after switching to New South Wales and accepting the captaincy. Returning to the SCG later in the summer against India, he registered his maiden Test century and helped to ensure Waugh's final Test ended in a draw instead of a loss.

Dropped for the first two matches in Sri Lanka in 2004, he was elevated to Ricky Ponting's place at No. 3 in India later that year and played with an eerie calmness. The highlight and lowlight came in the same innings - his 99 in the third-Test victory at Nagpur. His good form continued in Australia's tour of New Zealand in 2005 when a silky hundred in the first Test was overshadowed by yet another violent innings from Gilchrist, but his elegant display sealed his spot for a second Ashes tour. The troubles of the past year began in England when he was upset by the reverse-swing and was downgraded to a one-day only role shortly after returning home.

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