So cricket's worst kept secret has been confirmed. Nathan Hauritz has been dropped. Seemingly for Xavier (Ex-aviour? Zav-ee-yay?) Doherty (Dock-erty? Dough-erty?), a man who has been somewhat plucked from obscurity to become the new big thing.
Only he isn't. He's hardly forced his way into the side via sheer virtue of wickets. 84 FC wickets at 48 in ten years is hardly forcing your way into a side. I've never seen Doherty bowl, so my view on him is based solely on averages. And in FC cricket, it hardly strikes fear into Strauss, Pietersen et al.
Nathan Hauritz, despite his doe eyes and naive grin has been castigated for the past however long for not being good enough. While Paul Harris has shown there is a place for crap spin in world cricket, the "Hauritz Out" bandwagon has rapidly picked up speed. However, the main reason Ritz didn't get the boot he deserved was because there was nobody there to spin instead of him. Krejza and McGain got their chance and fumbled their lines, and Steve Smith is a batsman who can turn it a bit (when he can be bothered). While there were a few cabs on the rank, there weren't any obviously better then Hauritz, so Ritzy stayed.
Doherty probably isn't much better than Hauritz, but public opinion over Hauritz meant the NSP felt they had to get rid. Doherty was the lucky man who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Forget Hilditch claiming that Doherty's been picked to "trouble England's right handed middle order"; after losing three consecutive tests, somebody had to be the sacrificial lamb. And it was Hauritz. And as such, somebody had to come in as the saviour. And a man in a bit of form is Xavier Doherty.
So does Doherty's selection (and Hauritz's omission) improve Australia? Probably not. If it was based purely on ability, Ritz would have kept his place, as he has test experience, as well as Ashes experience. Doherty does not. The main thing he has going for him is that he is not Nathan Hauritz. That, and the fact he's a left arm spinner playing against Kevin Pietersen.