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Bevan putting Test ambitions on hold
Reuters, PTI
Johannesburg, March 04, 2003
First Published: 19:38 IST(4/3/2003)
Last Updated: 19:38 IST(4/3/2003)

Michael Bevan still has ambitions to play test cricket but is happy to put them on hold while he plays his part in Australia's World Cup defence.

Bevan, who masterminded Australia's remarkable run-chase against England on Sunday, played the last of his 18 tests in 1997-98 and is now regarded as a one-day specialist.

"Somewhere deep down I have still got ambitions," he told Reuters on Monday. "But obviously in my position I have got to put them away and concentrate a bit on reality.

"All I can do is to keep trying to improve as a player and hopefully fulfil my part in playing in this Australian one-day side at the moment."

That ambition and the desire to keep improving led Bevan to bring in an American coach, Ken West, to try and improve his pull and hook shots.

Bevan's reputation as a poor player of the short-pitched ball has undoubtedly cost him the chance to improve his test record, but he has worked to solve the problems.

Apart from the smile on his face as he left the field after hitting the winning runs against England, Bevan's broadest grin came after he pulled fast bowler James Anderson for four early in his innings.

"I know it sounds funny getting an American to help me play the hook shot but Ken is a biomechanist and a vision specialist," said Bevan.

"I got to learn some of the mechanics of the shot, when to use it and when not to use it and getting to learn how to play the shot.

"It is a shot I would like to be able to play and I have been working hard and doing a lot of work on it.

"I guess it could come in handy in the one-day game and hopefully show a few people in the longer version too that it is a shot I can play," the 32-year-old added.

The left-hander knows his test ambitions are for the future and it Australia's World Cup campaign that he is focusing on fully.

PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATED

That was perfectly illustrated on Sunday as he once again gave a demonstration of why he is regarded as the best one-day finisher in the world.

With wickets falling around him Bevan stayed calm to see Australia to their target of 205 with two balls to spare.

"It wasn't a great wicket (at Port Elizabeth) and that meant it would have been hard to chase anything over six an over through the closing stages so I just tried to bat with that in mind," he said.

"When I was with Darren Lehmann I just tried to keep the score ticking over but then there was a period where we lost a few wickets and the rate jumped.

"That meant I changed my plan a bit so that when Brett Lee came in I decided to be a bit more pro-active.

"I look at the scoreboard and I decide how I am going to set out to bat in those situations, it is a bit of both really.

"I try and work out what we have got to try and do and I also have a picture in my mind of how I would like it to pan out."

Bevan's innings was only his second of the tournament, but although his lack of time in the middle was the subject of media interest, it was never something that bothered him.

"We play so much cricket nowadays that it really isn't a big issue if you don't bat for a couple of weeks," he said.

The Australians were due to fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg on Monday evening to prepare for their first Super Six match, against the Group B winners at Centurion Park on Friday.

Australia's one injury doubt is fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who has missed the last two games with a sore right heel.


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