Martin Smith, at North Sydney Oval
Martin Smith, at North Sydney Oval
Uncapped fast-bowler Andrew Fekete admits he will struggle to force his way into Australia's Test squad this summer, even if selector Mark Waugh hasn't ruled out a Test berth for the Tasmanian on home soil.
Fekete was a surprise selection in Australia's squad for the now postponed tour of Bangladesh, storming into calculations on the back of 37 wickets in the Sheffield Shield last season.
And the right-armer provided another reminder of his quality on Monday, starring for Tasmania with four Queensland wickets on the opening day of the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup.
But he concedes he is a likely candidate to be squeezed out of the Test squad when Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood, who were rested for the Bangladesh tour, are available for selection again this summer.
And while the 30-year-old understands the reason for the postponement of the Bangladesh tour, he says the security concerns in the country have cost him a golden opportunity to prove his worth at the highest level.
Fekete in full flight during the Matador opener // Getty
"It makes it difficult with those two (Johnson and Hazlewood) coming back," Fekete said.
"If all the bowlers are available for selection I probably don’t see myself in that squad. All I can do is keep playing well for Tasmania and keep knocking on the door.
"It was disappointing not to get over there and tour with the Australian squad and perhaps play in a Test match.
"It was a great opportunity and timing with those guys missing out. It was as good a time as ever to be bowling well and be in the Australian squad, so it is disappointing.
"But it's all due circumstances which I can understand. It's out of my control so all I can do is to keep trying to play well."
Waugh said the return of Johnson and Hazlewood, as well as that of David Warner from injury, would lead to significant changes for the first Test against New Zealand, starting on November 5.
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The former Test batsman said Fekete's proficiency in subcontinent conditions was a major reason for his inclusion in the Bangladesh squad, but he didn't rule him out of contention for a Test debut this summer.
"He’s certainly not out of the equation playing Test cricket in Australia," Waugh said.
"Particularly with fast bowlers, they tend to get injuries. He’s around the mark, that’s for sure.
"He had a really good Shield season last year. He bowls with good pace, he’s a bit of a skidder, he can swing the ball reverse, he hits the seam and he gets wickets.
"He's got a few attributes, and he was one of the form bowlers in Shield cricket last year.
"The reports were really good (from the Australia A tour of India), he did bowl well there.
"In the subcontinent conditions you’re not going to get your seam and your normal swing, but you’re going to get reverse swing and you need guys who are quite quick through the air. He suited both of those criteria, which is why he was picked."
Fekete was one of the stars on the opening day of the Matador Cup, taking figures of 4-30 in Tasmania's nine-wicket thumping of Queensland at North Sydney Oval.
Having removed fellow Bangladesh squad member Joe Burns for a first-ball duck with his opening ball of the match, Fekete then dismissed Chris Hartley and Peter Forrest early in the innings before returning late on to wrap up the innings.
Fekete celebrates a wicket with Tigers teammates // Getty
The Tigers chased down the target of 197 with 14 overs to spare, with opener Ben Dunk finishing unbeaten on 104 from 101 balls.
It was a relatively low-scoring match at a venue that is renowned for high scoring; the corresponding fixture last year saw more than 800 runs scored in the match for the loss of just four wickets, with Dunk smashing an Australian record 229 not out in a losing cause.
"I think he likes this ground," Fekete said of Dunk with a laugh.
"If we played every game of cricket here he'd be asking for a transfer interstate. He batted beautifully.
"It was a good toss to win as there was a little bit in it (for the bowlers). There was a little bit of swing and nibble in the wicket so it was key winning the toss and we made the most of the new ball.
"I felt like I had good rhythm. The conditions were in our favour and I didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary."