Category Archives: 深圳桑拿论坛

Sep 30

Day to ride Hawaii confidence wave

Jason Day is confident he can use the momentum from his record equalling round in Maui to break through in Honolulu.

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Fresh off a blistering career best round of 62 at Kapalua, which saw the Queenslander jet from eight shots back to just one out of a playoff and a tie for third at the Tournament of Champions, Day is champing at the bit to hit Waialae Country Club.

In just his fourth trip to Waialae, and first since 2011, the world No.8 is hopeful he can live up to his billing as the highest-ranked player in the first full field event of 2015.

“Before last week I was feeling confident and my form was good but the final round in Maui really helped to cement in my mind that all the hard work we are doing is getting us in a good place,” Day said.

“The putts weren’t going in the first few days but it all came together and I know if I stay focussed over the four days here in Honolulu then I can hopefully be contending on Sunday afternoon.”

The 27-year-old admitted to being in a bit of a daze as he reeled off 11 birdies in 14 holes in the final round at Kapalua, but was also mindful it is the zone he has been working towards.

While friends and family spent some time in the pool between the third and fourth rounds last week Day took time out to train his mental state and find his groove, a move that ultimately paid off.

“I was just stressing a bit. I was just thinking about my putts and asking myself why am I not holing putts because I was hitting it well,” Day explained.

“But I took some time out, cleared my mind of any negative thoughts and just resolved to trust my stroke in the final round. Thankfully it seemed to work.”

Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Matt Jones and Steven Bowditch have all followed Day from Maui to Oahu for the event while Marc Leishman, Robert Allenby, Cameron Percy and Stuart Appleby are also in the field this week.

Leishman returns after finishing ninth two years back and fifth last year with the Victorian hopeful of continuing his upward trend.

Only an average third round stood in his way in 2014 where he dropped from one shot off the pace to four back and then couldn’t make up the ground on Sunday.

“I’m feeling good after a great break back home in Australia and it’s great to come somewhere I’ve played well,” he said.

There is no reason why I can’t continue the form from the last few years, the course is one that suits me.”

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Sep 30

We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find?

By Matthew Cooper, The University of Queensland

We’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics.

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But as the threat of superbugs continues to rise, the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This has placed us dangerously close to the edge of a return to the pre-antibiotic era, when even simple infections caused death.

We’ve developed antibiotics in the past, so why it is now so difficult to discover and develop new antibiotics? To find out, let’s look back to the “golden age” of antibiotic discovery from the 1940 to 1970s.

How we found antibiotics in the past

The majority of antibiotics we use at home or in hospitals today have their origins in natural products.

The penicillins, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, rifamycins, tetracyclines and glycopeptide-based antibiotics all came from bacteria or fungi. They were made by nature in response to selective evolutionary pressure over eons of “chemical warfare”, in which microorganisms battled to survive by killing off their competitors with antibiotics.

 

In the past, the toolkit to develop new antibiotics was simple. Matej Kastelic/Flickr

Of course, they also co-evolved resistance mechanisms to avoid being killed by their own compounds, so antibiotic resistance is equally ancient. Scientists have found antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria isolated from 30,000-year-old permafrost, long before antibiotics were discovered and used by humans.

Most antibiotics found during the “golden age” were from micro-organisms themselves, isolated from soil or plants and then cultured in the laboratory. They were easily screened on agar culture plates or liquid culture broths to see if they could kill pathogenic bugs.

The toolkit required was pretty simple: some dirt, a culture flask to grow the antibiotic-producing bacteria or fungi, a column to separate and isolate the potential new antibiotic, and a culture plate and incubator to test if the compound could kill a disease-causing pathogenic bacteria.

Chemists were then able to “tweak” these new structures to extend their activity against different bacteria and improve their ability to treat infection in the clinic. Most of the antibiotics we have are derived from just one soil-dwelling bacterial order – the Actinomycetales.

 

Most antibiotics we use were derived from soil-dwelling bacteria. whitaker/Shutterstock

The problem is that by using this tried and trusted method over and over again, we have found all of the low-hanging fruit antibiotics. So scientists have been forced to look further afield, turning to coral reefs, deep oceans and cave-dwelling bacteria to search for new promising molecules.

Key challenges

Philosopher Sun Tzu said “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”. We are now in a protracted war against superbugs, as we have overplayed a key weapon against disease. Our unfortunate misuse and abuse of antibiotics means that bacteria have developed new ways to inactivate the drugs, to stop them getting to their targets within the bacteria cells, and to pump them back out of the cell when they do get in.

The cost and time required to bring new drugs to market are staggering. Estimates for the time to bring a new antibiotic through the preclinical, clinical and regulatory approval process are in the order of 13 to 15 years and around US$1.2 billion. If the costs of failures are factored in, it is closer to US$2.5 billion.

Because we expect to pay $20 or at most $200 for a course of antibiotics (compared to more than $20,000 for many cancer treatments), and because we only take antibiotics for a week or two, almost all of the companies that were active in antibiotic discovery have left the field over the last 20 years.

What are scientists doing?

It’s not all doom and gloom. Scientists have developed many innovative approaches to the search for new antibiotics, such as one recently reported in Nature, in which bacteria from soil are sealed into 10,000 separate miniature culture cells in a chip device, then buried in the soil they came from again to grow in their natural environment. The chip device is then dug up, and each cell screened for compounds that can kill pathogenic bacteria.

 

Developing new antibiotics is a long and expensive process. Jenni Konrad/Flickr, CC BY-NC

This type of approach led to the discovery of one of the very few new candidate antibiotics in the last 30 years, teixobactin.

This type of innovation illustrates an important maxim: with good people, the right motivation, perseverance, and sufficient funding we can start to fix some of problems we face in this area.

What are governments doing?

Fortunately, governments around the world have started to respond.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davis have been consistent vocal supporters of a cross-government strategy and action plan against superbugs. In fact, Dame Davies recognised that the threat from infections resistant to frontline antibiotics was so serious that she called for the issue to be added to the UK government’s national risk register of civil emergencies, alongside pandemic influenza and terrorism.

The European Union has stepped up with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Europe’s largest public-private initiative aiming to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. They have pledged more than €680 million (A$985 million) to fund drug-discovery platforms for antibiotics; new treatments for cystic fibrosis; hospital-acquired pneumonia and urinary tract infections; understanding how drugs get into, and then stay inside bacteria; and new ways of designing and implementing efficient clinical trials for novel antibiotics.

 

Scientists have been forced to look to coral reefs, deep oceans and cave-dwelling bacteria to search for promising new molecules. ©UCAR/Flickr, CC BY-NC

In the United States, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invest more than US$5 billion (17% of total funds) into infectious diseases research, making it second only to cancer research at US$5.4 billion (18%). In a further show of support, US President Barack Obama also announced an Executive Order commanding a dozen government agencies to action a comprehensive action plan against superbugs.

So how are we doing in Australia? Infectious disease research for new antibiotics and diagnostic methods to identify superbugs is not yet an Australian national health priority area. In 2014, the Australian government, through the National Health and Medical Research Council, invested A$13.4 million into antibiotic development and resistance research, less than half of which was directed to discovery of new compounds. This equates to around 2% of the 2014 research budget.

We need better stewardship of existing antibiotics, better diagnostic methods and new antibiotics that we can take better care of this time around.

Unfortunately, we are dragging our feet in dealing with the superbug threat. This year, after more than 20 years of reviews and white papers, the Australian ministers for health and agriculture will be presented with comprehensive recommendations from leading clinicians, health-care workers, scientists, and policymakers about how we can work together to finally overcome the challenges of combating bacterial infections.

Yes, we’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs.

Now it’s time to act.

Matthew Cooper receives funding from the NHMRC for antibiotic research. He is on the scientific advisory board of Adenium Biotech, Denmark.

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Sep 30

AFC president backs referees despite criticism

The Bahraini, accompanied by Asian Football Confederation general secretary Alex Soosay, met with officials in Sydney on Tuesday, a day after Japan’s Keisuke Honda slammed the performance of the Qatari referee in their 4-0 win over Palestine.

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“Shaikh Salman relayed his trust in the referees’ ability and his hope that they would continue their positive contributions to the tournament, something which would greatly help further enhance the reputation of referees in Asia,” the AFC posted in a release.

Honda had described Abdulrahman Hussain style of officiating as “basketball like” after what he felt was another substandard performance by Asian referees at the show piece.

Hussain dished out five yellow and one red card to the Palestinians, who produced some rough and tumble tackles in Newcastle with Ismail Al Amour fortunate not to also be sent off after a studs in the chest challenge.

“I don’t want to complain but they have to change something about the level of referees,” Honda was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

“During the game I don’t want to say that because I don’t want to waste my energy but it was like basketball, right? If we touched their bodies it was a foul.”

Honda’s compatriot Ryuji Sato also had a poor game officiating Australia’s 4-0 win over Oman on Tuesday.

The Japanese referee only booked Ahmed Mubarak for a dangerous two-footed lunge on Tim Cahill in the first half, while he questionably pulled back play for a penalty to the hosts despite Mark Milligan already putting the ball in the net.

Iran boss Carlos Queiroz also voiced his complaints that Australian official Ben Williams, the 2013 AFC referee of the year, allowed too many strong tackles in the 2-0 win over Bahrain.

“I was not happy because after nine, 10, 12 fouls, stopping the game systematically. The referee must take action,” the former Portugal and Real Madrid boss said.

“For a referee so quick to show a yellow card when one of my players didn’t hear the whistle, I was completely surprised that, when he sees Bahrain’s negative game, after 10 fouls in a row, he didn’t give them a single yellow.”

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Sep 30

Chiefs assistant Coventry packing for London

The former Waikato loose forward will replace Australian Brian Smith, who left the club this week.

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“I have a job to do with the Chiefs this season and will concentrate on the next phase of my career with London Irish at the end of the Super Rugby season,” Coventry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I have enjoyed my time with the Chiefs and will continue to do so until it is time to go, but I think to stay fresh as a coach it is important to immerse yourself in new environments, new challenges and experiences which is what I am going to do.”

One of Coventry’s first recruits is expected to be All Blacks prop Ben Franks, with New Zealand media reporting earlier this week the 41-test veteran will leave to link up with the club after this year’s World Cup in England.

Franks’ 30-year-old’s All Blacks team mate Jeremy Thrush has confirmed he will leave New Zealand rugby after the global tournament, having signed a contract with Gloucester.

The lock, who will be 30 in April, was a late bloomer to international rugby and only made his test debut in 2013. He has played 11 tests for the team since and was man of the match in their narrow win over Scotland last November.

“Signing a player of Jeremy’s ability further highlights Gloucester’s ambition to compete with the best clubs in Europe,” Gloucester coach David Humphreys said in a statement.

“He has been a standout performer in Super Rugby … and the experience he has gained being part of a successful All Blacks squad will be a key element in establishing Gloucester as one of the dominant forward packs in England.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Sep 30

No excuses for slow NRL start: Cowboys

Another controversial NRL finals exit would cause a riot in Townsville, North Queensland backrower Gavin Cooper joked.

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But the Maroons hopeful was deadly serious when he claimed there would be no excuses if the Cowboys did not start their 20th anniversary season with a bang.

A third straight finals campaign ended in 2014 with North Queensland again on the wrong end of an officials’ call.

However, it did not stop Cooper finishing an injury-hit season on a high with a call-up to the extended Kangaroos’ Four Nations squad.

And the honours look set to continue in 2015.

Cooper, 29, is on track to fill a Queensland backrow vacancy created by Ben Te’o (rugby) after a debut appearance in Wayne Bennett’s Emerging Maroons squad last weekend.

But the late bloomer’s sole focus was helping North Queensland hit the ground running in 2015.

He said the stage was set to give long-suffering Cowboys fans something to smile about early after co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott (both shoulder) skipped the Four Nations and with coach Paul Green well established.

“We always seem to start a season slowly,” Cooper told AAP.

“Last year we might have had some excuses with the World Cup being on and didn’t have anyone there for pre-season training or having a new coach learning his new systems.

“But we have no excuses this year.

“JT (Thurston) and Matt Scott stayed home from the Four Nations and everyone knows how Greeny wants the Cowboys to play.

“We always finish well but there are no excuses to start slowly this year.”

The “no excuses” approach has also been applied to yet another finals campaign that ended after an official’s call that had the Cowboys fans up in arms.

Fighting back from 30-0 down, Thurston looked to have crossed for the matchwinner in their NRL semi-final against Sydney Roosters only to be disallowed for a touch-and-go knock on in the lead-up.

“We have shrugged it off but there would be a big riot if it happened again,” Cooper laughed.

“It is something we won’t drag into next year.

“We have to try and take the refs out of the game.”

Cooper is also not trying to dwell on his Emerging Maroons call-up despite Te’o’s departure and Queensland backrower Chris McQueen under pressure.

“It’s a little pat on the back knowing you are in the back of their minds,” he said.

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Aug 30

GP rebate change looks terminal: Xenophon

Australians could pay more for a short visit to the doctor from next week – but possibly not for long.

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The Greens and Labor want to disallow the Abbott government’s “sneaky” pre-Christmas change to the rebate system for GP visits.

The motion would need four more votes to pass and already has support from independent senators Jacqui Lambie and Nick Xenophon. Motoring Enthusiast senator Ricky Muir is likely to support the motion which also reportedly has support from Palmer United party senator Glenn Lazarus.

“I think this measure is pretty much terminal,” Senator Xenophon told reporters in Adelaide.

From Monday, the rebate for appointments lasting under 10 minutes will be cut from $37.05 to $16.95, and doctors are warning they may pass that cost to patients.

The government tabled the change as a regulation before Christmas, so it will remain in force unless overturned after the Senate returns on February 9.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott insists the changes are designed to improve care and ensure doctors spend more time with their patients.

Medicare had to be sustainable, he said.

“I say to all of the critics: `If you don’t like what we are doing, come up with your alternative because we simply cannot go on as a government, and as a country, living beyond our means’,” he said.

AMA president Brian Owler said the rebate cut had nothing to do with improving the quality of care or tackling six-minute medicine.

“It is about grabbing $1.3 billion from patients and family doctors to improve the budget,” Associate Professor Owler said in a statement.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called it a “sneak attack” on Medicare.

“Our position is unequivocal, it’s in black and white,” Mr Shorten said.

“We will oppose Tony Abbott absolutely changing the rebate system for our GPs, making it a lot harder and through this sneaky back-door method,” he told reporters in Queensland.

Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told ABC 24 he believed new Health Minister Sussan Ley could negotiate Senate support.

But Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm was a rare voice backing the government on Wednesday. Family First’s Bob Day also supports the government.

Senator Leyonhjelm says he doesn’t believe doctors will pass on the cost.

“I’m not influenced by the AMA – it’s just basically a union for doctors,” he told AAP by phone from India, where he is on holiday.

“Their argument is that they will make less money, therefore they will have to charge their patients.

“Well, that was the government’s intention and I don’t see any problem with that. The objective is to get over this idea that health care can be free.”

Senator Xenophon says overturning the regulation could cause some chaos, but not as much as not disallowing it would create in the public hospital system and the way medicine is practised.

A further $5 cut to GP rebates comes in from July 1, on top of a near-six-year freeze on Medicare rebate indexation.

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Aug 30

Gun appears three years after ring smashed

A Glock pistol found in an Aladdin’s cave of drugs and firearms this month allegedly came from an imported guns cache that has featured in high-profile Sydney crimes.

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More than 200 Glock pistols were illegally funnelled to Australia from Germany before Strike Force Maxworthy smashed the firearms racket in 2012.

The pistols have popped up in high-profile crimes, including the shooting of notorious criminal Bassam Hamzy’s aunt in March 2013.

Maha Hamze was shot in the legs through the front door of her western Sydney home with a Glock that was later discovered during a raid by police investigating a bungled cash-in-transit van robbery in 2013.

Police have also uncovered the pistols at homes in Wagga Wagga in country NSW and during raids in Bankstown, Greystanes and Westmead.

Only 12 of the pistols that reached Australian shores have been recovered.

Last week, drug squad investigators found the latest piece of the global firearms puzzle after a raid on a box trailer at a Edensor Park.

Officers uncovered a Uzi submachine gun, an assault rifle, four handguns, two shotguns and a range of ammunition.

Police will allege one handgun was a Glock pistol that had been illegally imported as part of the firearms racket several years ago.

Authorities will try to trace how the pistol made its way from Europe allegedly into the possession of Sydney man To Hoai Thach.

Thach is not charged in relation to the firearms ring.

There was also allegedly more than $20 million worth of drugs – including 14.7 kilograms of heroin and 6.2 kilograms of ecstasy tablets – found in the box trailer and a car.

Thach, 27, appeared in Campbelltown Local Court on Wednesday on 20 charges, including large commercial drug supply.

He did not apply for bail and the case was adjourned to March 11.

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Aug 30

US PTSD war vet executed for cop murder

A Vietnam war vet with post-traumatic stress disorder has been executed in the United States for murdering a police officer, the country’s first death row inmate killed this year.

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Andrew Howard Brannan, 66, was declared dead by lethal injection at 8.33pm local time on Tuesday at an execution chamber in Jackson, Georgia, prison spokeswoman Susan Megahee said.

Brannan, who fought in the Vietnam War, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was convicted in January 2000 for the murder of 22-year-old police officer Kyle Dinkheller.

Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles had considered clemency on Monday, but denied to stay the execution and said Brannan was guilty of “malice murder”.

A dashboard police camera recorded Dinkheller’s death on January 12, 1998, after the officer stopped Brannan for speeding.

The video shows Brannan dancing and yelling insults at the officer before taunting the officer to kill him, according to court documents.

Brannan then reached into his car and pulled out a gun, opening fire on Dinkheller while saying “die f***er,” shooting the officer nine times, including once at close range.

The Georgia Supreme Court reinstated Brannan’s death sentence in 2008 after a lower court judge struck it down.

Last June, the US Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

The top US court rejected a last-ditch appeal on Tuesday evening.

Brannan’s lawyers argued he was a courageous soldier who volunteered to fight for his country and did not deserve to be killed.

“Andrew Brannan was decorated for heroic combat service,” said lawyer Brian Kammer.

“Brannan suffered severe, debilitating mental illness as a result of his combat experiences whose symptoms continued to manifest up to the time of the crime,” Kammer wrote in a final appeal.

The lawyer called for a “categorical exemption” from capital punishment for veterans such as Brannan and argued the execution was unconstitutional.

“A categorical exclusion is warranted because combat veterans with PTSD are meaningfully distinguishable from other capital offenders,” he said.

Brannan’s lawyers had not denied that he killed Dinkheller, but argued for clemency based on his mental illness.

In 2014, the number of executions in the United States fell to its lowest in 20 years, with a total of 35 inmates executed across the country, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A total of 29 states plus the US capital Washington DC have either abolished the death penalty or no longer use it.

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Aug 30

Whitehaven predicts coal rebound in 2015

Whitehaven Coal has predicted increases in thermal and metallurgical coal prices in 2015 in a positive sign for the beleaguered sector.

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The commodity is Australia’s second biggest export earner behind iron ore, but many producers, including Whitehaven, have been posting financial losses for several years.

Whitehaven was reasonably buoyant in its outlook as it posted record half year sales on Wednesday

Thermal coal remains the lowest cost source of energy for power generators, it said, and the International Energy Agency is forecasting average demand growth of 2.1 per cent a year until 2019.

“Whitehaven expects a stable to gradual increase in the price for its thermal coal qualities over the next year,” the company said.

Demand from China had weakened, but increased elsewhere in Asia, with Whitehaven selling more to Japan and Korea.

Production cuts in the metallurgical coal market – used to make steel – were still working their way through and should boost those prices too, the company said.

But Whitehaven received lower prices in the December quarter than in the preceding three months.

The $US87.56 tonne for its metallurgical products was down from $89 and its thermal coal products commanded $US66.07, down from $68.

The NSW-based miner’s sales in the six months to December rose six per cent from the same period a year earlier, to a record six million tonnes.

Production of saleable coal was up nine per cent to 5.7 million tonnes, despite a 17 per cent fall in the December quarter due to scheduled mine work.

Royal Bank of Canada mining analyst Chris Drew said it would probably be another tough year for coal miners, but Whitehaven was performing well considering.

Strong sales were generating cashflow, thermal coal was getting better prices than the benchmark, and with 10 per cent of global metallurgical supply due to drop out through mine closures the outlook was bright, he said.

The Maules Creek project, which will become Whitehaven’s best mine, achieved first sales last week and will increase its mix of higher priced metallurgical coal.

“It was a good quarter but they have a realistic and cautious outlook: maybe there is not so much downside this year but a slow grind to recovery,” Mr Drew said.

Whitehaven shares gained 1.5 cents to $1.21.

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Aug 30

Doherty feeling World Cup pressure

Xavier Doherty admits to feeling the extra pressure and expectations generated by being the only specialist spinner in Australia’s pace-packed cricket World Cup squad.

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The Tasmanian left-arm tweaker is the primary slow bowling option in a squad that contains four pacemen and three fast-medium allrounders.

That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a place in the World Cup side, as Australia could go in with offspinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell.

While Test spinner Nathan Lyon was given half a dozen games in 2014 to advance his World Cup, claims, the selectors ultimately plumped for 32-year-old Doherty, who has played 57 ODIs.

Lyon has played just eight ODIs and Doherty said his experience had probably worked in his favour, with few other specialist spinners given an extended run in recent times,

Asked if he felt extra pressure Doherty said “there probably is, if I was going to be honest, given there was so much speculation about the spinning spot.

“I probably do feel that expectation to really nail it, and when my opportunity comes to take it.”

Doherty came to prominence in shorter forms of the game through his ability to contain batsmen through faster dart-type deliveries rather than through turn and guile.

He won’t be motivated by criticism, which he regards as a standard part of modern day sport.

“Not many people get away with avoiding criticism, you only have to look around our team especially,” Doherty said.

“Guys at the very top are getting criticised, so I’ve got to expect it as well. That’s fair enough.”

He’s philosophical about the tendency towards flat pitches that produce plenty of boundaries and high scoring.

Doherty accepts he may struggle to get a game on some Australian grounds during the World Cup.

“The authorities are after higher scoring games and that’s the way it’s turning out and that’s what this World Cup will be, high-scoring affairs I’d imagine,” Doherty said.

“I’m under no illusion I probably won’t play every game and there are probably certain pitches where I’ll be looked at to come into contention.

“So it’s when I get those opportunities to really nail it.

“But I feel if I’m bowling at my best I can make it pretty hard for the selectors as well.”

With Michael Clarke injured of late, Doherty has found himself working under George Bailey his skipper at Tasmania.

“George and I have known each other for a long time, so he probably gives me a bit more reign than `Pup’ (Clarke) does and knows my game a little bit better, so will trust what I can do,” Doherty said.

The Australian squad will play its first World Cup lead-up game against England at the SCG on Friday.

TALE OF A TWEAKER – XAVIER DOHERTY’S YEAR-BY-YEAR ODI RECORD

*2010 2 matches, 4 wickets, average 15.75, econ rate 4.50

*2011 – 14 matches, 16 wickets, average 34.81, econ rate 4.52

*2012 – 21 matches, 22 wickets, average 36.86, econ rate 4.87

*2013: 14 matches, 7 wickets, average 65.57, econ rate 5.15

2014: 6 matches, 5 wickets, average 45.20, econ rate 4.26.

Stats: ESPN Cricinfo Statsguru.

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