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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 16:03 GMT

Bichel grabs chance to shine
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

Andy Bichel
Bichel was in stunning form against England on Sunday
It is no wonder Andy Bichel never stops smiling.

He once worked for three months on a building site with former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott when he was out of the Australia side.

"I know what it's like to have to be at work at 7am," Bichel once said. "It was a taste of the real world and bloody hard work."

Harder work, it would seem, than taking World Cup wickets.

After his blistering seven wickets for 20 runs against England on Sunday, Bichel has now taken 12 in the tournament at an average of 2.75.

And that is without mentioning a stalwart performance with the bat, notching 34 to help Michael Bevan close out the innings and take Australia to what had at one point had seemed an unlikely win

Not bad for a man who struggles to get into both the Test and one-day sides for Australia.

A bit part player against Holland and Namibia - where he had bowling figures of 3-13 and 2-0 respectively - the 32-year-old found himself centre stage against England.

To most people, Bichel's comments on leaving the field at St George's Park may have sounded a touch understated given that he had just claimed the second-best return in World Cup history.

Best World Cup bowling
Glenn McGrath 7-15 v Namibia (Potchefstroom 2003)
Andy Bichel 7-20 v England (Port Elizabeth 2003)
Winston Davis 7-51 v Australia (Headingley 1975)
Gary Gilmour 6-14 v England (Headingley 1975)
Ashish Nehra 6-23 v England (Durban 2003)
Chaminda Vaas 6-25 v Bangladesh (Pietermaritzburg 2003)
"It was nice to be out there today and enjoying what you do for a living," he said.

This, though, was from a trained carpenter and joiner who knows all about setbacks.

A late developer for both state and country, he missed the last World Cup and his selection for Australia is usually because Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie or Brett Lee are unavailable.

Having started the Ashes series in Melbourne, Bichel found himself out of favour by the third Test in Perth, where Lee was recalled.

From then on, Bichel was forced to perform 12th man duties until McGrath was injured before the final Test in Sydney.

In Port Elizabeth, it was Gillespie's turn to aggravate a longstanding achilles injury and allow Bichel a run at England.

"You don't like to see your team-mates pick up injuries - especially Jason," Bichel said.

"He's a tremendous bowler. I hoped I could fill his shoes - he's got big shoes and big shoulders, he's a big man. And I've done it today.

Andy Bichel and Glenn McGrath in training
Bichel is usually in the shadow of McGrath and others
"I've always been able to swing the ball and these conditions over here are helping me at the moment.

"I wanted to get in there, hang in around that off stump and hopefully nip a few out."

And nip a few out he did.

Three had fallen by the time he had delivered his eighth ball - and that after an opening stand of 66 in nine overs against McGrath and Lee.

By the time Bichel had completed his first spell of six overs, he had added a fourth to his haul.

And a second spell of four overs not only broke a partnership of 90 between Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff, but brought another three for eight.

"It was a goal to play in this World Cup and nice to be out there today," he said.

Understatements do not come any more loaded.

Links to more Australia stories


Australia's Andy Bichel
"You never give up till the last ball is bowled"

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