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The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 14/01/1994
Words: 586
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 29
Tim Zoehrer will keep wickets for Australia for the first time since 1987 in the World Series match against South Africa at the WACA Ground on Sunday, substituting for the injured Ian Healy.

In the intervening seven years, Zoehrer has become one of Western Australia's longestserving players, dabbled in a career as a leg-spinner, toured England twice and topped the bowling averages both times.

He has also married, mellowed and perhaps in his most private moments kicked himself for the youthful intemperance that led to his exit from the Australian side after just 10 Tests.

Still, the time for regrets is past, and at 32, Zoehrer was only too pleased yesterday to return from a coaching clinic to hear the voice of chairman of selectors Laurie Sawle on his answering service, asking him if he was doing anything on Sunday.

As it happened, he had arranged a barbecue with his sister, visiting from Melbourne, but quickly decided that the sausages would keep. "I'm rapt," he said. "It's an opportunity to go out and perform to the best of my ability. It'll be a great joy to go out and perform in front of a packed home crowd."

Zoehrer's wicket-tending fluctuated on Australia's tour of England last year. He had eight dismissals against Surrey one memorable afternoon at The Oval, but at other times was confounded by the prodigious turn of Shane Warne and Tim May. He floundered, too, with the bat.

But since returning to Australia, and abandoning his bowling, he has been his old, efficient self in both departments. "I believe I'm keeping as well as ever," he said.

Healy suffered a severely bruised - though not broken - right ankle when he was struck by a throw from New Zealand fieldsman Mark Greatbatch in Sydney on Tuesday.

Although he hobbled on with a runner to make 48, he decided yesterday to stand down from one of Australia's less vital engagements this summer.

He is expected to resume in Australia's match against New Zealand in Melbourne next Wednesday, the last before the World Series finals.

Healy has been a remarkably resilient player. Since his elevation to the Test side in 1988, he has played 58 consecutive Test matches, and missed only two one-day internationals, against England in 1989, when Mike Veletta kept, and against India in the 1992 World Cup when David Boon took the gloves.

Perth is becoming a bitter-sweet place in his scrapbook, for it was against New Zealand there earlier this season that he scored his second Test - and first-class - century. But it was also there last season that he was jeered by the parochial crowd, who perceived fallibility in him, and who in any case demanded Zoehrer.

Mark Waugh and Shane Warne are likely to be set aside from Australia's 13 on Sunday, Waugh as much because of the selectors' disenchantment with his form as because of injury, and Warne because the WACA Ground has not been kind to him in the past, and because May needs more bowling.

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