Pinch-hitter downplays IPL role
IPL cricket may not be the best preparation for a tilt at Test honours but Queensland all-rounder Ashley Noffke isn't complaining.
Noffke, 30, will fly out of Brisbane today for a two-week stint with Indian Premier League side Bangalore as injured Nathan Bracken's replacement.
He will be rushed back into a training camp in Brisbane by May 2 to finetune his preparation for the Test tour of the West Indies, which starts on May 16.
His whirlwind IPL introduction caps a hectic fortnight in which he backed up his Windies tour selection by regaining a coveted Cricket Australia contract for next season.
Flying to the sub-continent for four Twenty20 games before a crucial Test tour sounds like a disruption. Being paid a reported $20,000 an IPL game helps.
"To be honest, coming off a break of a few weeks, it will be a good thing to go over there and get some batting and bowling under the belt before the Australian camp," Noffke said.
"I've got four or five days here in Brisbane where we can really get into Test mode."
Noffke had a stellar domestic first-class season, becoming the first Queenslander and third Australian to break the 50-wicket and 500-run barrier.
But Noffke did not feature in the IPL player auctions, probably because he didn't know about it.
"I didn't know too much about the whole IPL thing. I didn't even know the second player auction was happening until James Hopes got bought," he said. "So I have been pretty lucky to get into it."
Noffke will be available for Bangalore's opening IPL clash against Kolkata, which boasts Ricky Ponting and David Hussey, on Friday.
He replaces Bracken, who is still recovering from knee surgery in March.
"It's a pretty exciting proposition to go up against so many good players," Noffke said.
"I'm taking the view that it will be good for my development as a player as well as a chance to get some bowling under my belt."
Noffke was once Australian cricket's hard-luck story. He has twice lost his CA contract and been sidetracked by serious injuries, including ankle ligament damage that cut short his 2001 Ashes tour.
But Noffke says all the hard work is starting to pay off.
"You do all that to play for your country. I just love to be involved in the Australian set-up. It's a good place to be at the moment," he said.