Katich ready to increase batting pace

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simonSimon Katich is prepared to lift his strike-rate as he attempts to shake off a string of contenders for his opening batting place.

Katich again came under scrutiny in the warm-up series in Malaysia, but he retained his place in the squad for the Champions Trophy, where Shane Watson looms as another rival.

During the Kuala Lumpur tournament part of Katich’s role was to avoid losing early wickets, including in the final when he made 25 from 66 balls, and he knows the job description will change in India over the next couple of weeks.

“Over here the tactics will probably be a bit different, I imagine we will be looking to go a bit harder in the first 20 overs,” Katich said.

“The way one-day cricket is now with the powerplays in operation, the focus is more on trying to score quickly at the outset and to take advantage of the field restrictions while they’re in place. I’ll just have to play it by ear and up the ante a bit more,” he added.

In 27 matches as opener since replacing Hayden in 2005, Katich has averaged 39.02 with a strike-rate of 66.08.

Katich, who also has Phil Jaques and Hayden putting pressure on him, has received strong support from Adam Gilchrist, his most regular opening partner over the past 12 months.

“He’s not copping a chip from within the team, not that I’m aware of anyway,” Gilchrist told the paper. “‘Kat’ has been fantastic at trying to learn the opening role in one-dayers and to improve in whatever areas he feels like he needs to. It’s not like he has got blinkers on, and that he isn’t looking at the big picture. He is always aiming to improve and get better from his own individual perspective, and for the needs of the team,” he added.
Source:The News

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