England could be handed a boost heading into the opening Test match starting later this month, with the news that Aussie opener Simon Katich has broken his thumb and could be a doubt to be fit in time.
The batsman suffered the injury before the recent tour of India, although the initial diagnosis was only bruising so Katich played through the pain as Australia suffered a 2-0 series defeat. The injury restricted Katich to just 110 runs in his four innings and while it won’t require surgery it will still need to be rested if he has any hope of taking part in the Brisbane Test.
Cricket betting pundits note that the opener made his debut for the Aussie’s in the 2001 Ashes tour of England and followed that with sporadic runs in the Test side before becoming a regular at the top of the order following the retirement of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden two and a half years ago. His solid batting and added ability to bowl a few decent overs of left arm spin have made Katich an integral part of Ricky Ponting’s side.
If Katich does miss the opening Test, then young Phillip Hughes could earn a recall to Australia’s Test side. After exploding on to the Test scene last year, the 21 year old went through a nightmare spell during the 2009 Ashes and was dropped from the team.
Over the past couple of years, Katich has built a successful opening partnership with Shane Watson. The mix of Katich’s methodical style with Watson’s attacking mindset has proven to be a dangerous mix on more than one occasion. His record at Test level is one England would probably rather not have to face, in his 31 Tests, Katich has scored 2,631 runs at an impressive average of around the 50 mark.
During that time the batsman has hit eight centuries along with 16 half centuries and has earned a reputation for being one of the hardest batsmen to get out. As well as his thoughtful approach, Katich possesses a wide portfolio of shots and when he gets into his stride it is worth placing a cricket free bet that the left-hander can build big innings.