HE might have packed away the bat and pads, but Simon Katich still loves talking and watching the game he, like many, first started playing as a young kid.
The former Aussie batsman will again be part of the ABC commentary team for the upcoming summer, and speaking at last week’s NIAS4Life launch and inaugural NIAS4Life Sports Luncheon said he was excited about what is going to be “a huge summer of cricket”.
South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are all coming out, with the Aussies also heading over to New Zealand for three games.
“It promises to be a great simmer of cricket and competitive,” he said.
“Obviously our guys have got a point to prove.”
He laid some of the blame for their series losses in Sri Lanka (test) and most recently South Africa at a hectic schedule, and argued that the scheduling needs to be looked at, as much for the players as the public.
They want to see the best teams playing but don’t want to see 5-nil results either.
Personally, he said he is looking forward to seeing some of the young batsmen making names for themselves.
“I think the one that could really have a big summer is Mitch Marsh,” he said.
“The time is right for him to really kick on.”
Particularly with the bat.
The first test gets underway in Perth on November 3, and Katich believes there are a couple of batting spots up for grabs.
“Obviously (David) Warner, (Steve) Smith and (Adam) Voges pick themselves,” he said.
He expects, provided they start the season right, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja to come back into calculations.
It wasn’t Katich’s first visit to Tamworth, although last time he had his kit with him.
He recalled playing in a Twenty20 game in 2006, where he caught his first glimpse of the “Bendemeer Bullett” – Josh Hazlewood.
The quick famously broke the stumps bowling to Shane Lee.
Katich later went on to skipper Hazlewood and spoke about how impressed he was with him when he first arrived at NSW, particularly his ability to bowl and know where the ball was going to go.
He spoke candidly about the ups and downs of a career that started in Western Australia in 1996, and took him all over the world.