Hopes speechless by cricket selection - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hopes speechless by cricket selection

By Jim Morton 10/02/2005 06:53:25 PM Comments (0)

Selection bolter James Hopes has taken only four months to go from an under-siege state player to Australia's newest genuine all-rounder.

Hopes was as surprised as anyone about his selection in the world champions' one-day squad to tour New Zealand, being rendered speechless when told of the unexpected good news.

It was only the start of this season when the 26-year-old feared for his place in the Queensland side which had been bolstered by prodigal son Shane Watson.

The return of Watson, back home after a three-year stint with Tasmania, meant the Bulls, also boasting Andrew Symonds, had two international all-rounders in their midst and Hopes knew his record over three modest seasons wouldn't stack up.

But a breakthrough summer, boasting 513 Pura Cup runs at 46.63 and 13 wickets at 28.92, thanks to a more aggressive approach has seen him, ironically, benefit from an injured Watson's misfortune to be picked to debut in the gold and green uniform.

"It was more about trying to trust the way I try to play the game," Hopes said.

"I got to play for Queensland by being fairly aggressive ... but I never trusted it at the next level.

"When I bat I don't like knocking the ball around and seeing how long I can bat for. I like to play my shots."

Off the field "James Who?", an Australia A debutant this season, is a business/marketing university graduate and a keen golfer, playing off single figures.

He admitted to being gob-smacked by the selection, which his girlfriend and father failed to believe after getting a call from Cricket Australia official Michael Brown.

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