Holland surprised at ODI call up


The left-arm spinner, exactly one year young in first-class cricket, made a stunning breakthrough last week when he was named in Australia’s 15-man squad for the seven-match one-day series in India beginning later this month.

The Victorian has hardly set the domestic scene afire, six first-class matches yielding him 14 wickets and eight one-dayers netting just six sticks at an average of 58.83 and an economy rate of 5.25. What’s he doing in the Australian team, one might wonder?

Perhaps, at a certain level, Holland himself does. “I didn’t expect it at all,” the confident lad, currently doing battle for the Bushrangers in the Airtel Champions League, admitted. “It was a great surprise, actually. At the moment, though, what I want to do most is to try and ensure we are successful in this competition.”

Holland confessed that it was impossible for him not to occasionally think of the road ahead after the Champions League ends next Friday. “I am trying not to, but it’s pretty hard not to think about it (the one-day series),” he laughed. “It’s very exciting, a great honour to be representing Australia.”

That honour has been bestowed upon him on the basis of a steady climb up the ranks, including representing the Australian under-19 team. “I am not feeling the heat at the moment,” Holland said, attempting to deflect any possible pressure of expectations. “I am pretty happy playing for Victoria, I don’t feel the weight of expectations.”

Barring Shane Warne and, to a much lesser extent Stuart MacGill, Australia have struggled to throw up a spinner of any longevity in the last 20 years. “There are plenty of young spinners around back home,” Holland asserted. “Each state has a few good spinners. It’s about getting and taking the opportunities which come your way -- that’s fairly what it comes down to.

“Captains do encourage the spinners in Australia. The wickets for four-dayers and one-dayers are pretty flat. You don’t get as much turn as you would over here but the captains encourage spin bowlers to bowl attackingly and try and take wickets.”
Holland’s first two outings on this sojourn have been on the slow, low tracks at Delhi’s Feroze Shah Kotla, the ideal learning experience ahead of a big series in India.

“Bowling on such tracks, you’ve got to be tight on your length and line, and you have to execute your plans as well as you can. I don’t have much experience of playing in India, so I have to try and learn as much as I can from every game.”

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