Miller empathises with Krejza, backs offie to do well in India

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Melbourne, Oct 4 (UNI) After Jason Krejza's drink-spiking incident was revealed in the media, Australian players have been asked to ensure that the off-spinner is mentally prepared for the upcoming challenge against India.

It was reported in The Age yesterday that Krejza had told New South Wales' officials that his drink had been spiked three days before a second XI match in November 2006, leading him to withdraw from the match and submit a urine sample that contained traces of cocaine.

However, Krejza is not the lone Australian to have experienced such an incident. Former Aussie off-spinner Colin Miller yesterday said he had reported a similar incident to Cricket Australia's chief medical officer Trefor James after he returned from Australia's 2001 tour of India.

Miller claimed that he ''lost 12 hours of my life'' after his drink was tampered with at a Melbourne hotel, and immediately reported his experience because he feared a positive drug test.

He said he believed that the substance was GBH, the drug also known as liquid ecstasy.

''I know what Krejza is going through because it happened to me,'' Miller was quoted as saying by The Age.

''It wasn't like anything I had felt with alcohol. I rang Trefor James straightaway and said my drink's been spiked because if I had been tested, I could have been rubbed out for two years or something,'' Miller added.

Miller, who claimed six wickets in one Test against India in the 2001 series, said Krejza was ''under a ton of pressure'' following the shoulder injury that has ruled Bryce McGain out of the rest of the series and the drink-spiking revelation, but backed him to succeed in India.

''He has had one bad day in his first bowl for Australia, who cares? He has been chucked in the deep end - 18 wickets in a first-class season isn't a massive year for a spinner, but I don't think Indian batsmen play off-spin as well as they play leg-spin,'' he stated.

Miller said Krejza's extroverted personality could be an asset to him and the team and he needed to hold his nerve against India's champion batsmen.

''He is a bit out there but I think spinners need to be. Shane Warne showed that you have got to be aggressive, and bowl spin like a fast bowler,'' Miller said.

Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh said he was satisfied that the matter had been handled appropriately both by Krejza and Cricket NSW.

But there are concerns for the welfare of the 25-year-old, who is favoured to make his Test debut against India in Bangalore next week despite being belted for 123 runs against Board President's XI.

''I have contacted some of the guys in the team, asking them to let us know if there is anything we can do for him (Krejza).

''I don't know what his state of mind is at the moment but we hope this storm blows over quickly so he can concentrate on his cricket because this is going to be a pretty important week for him,'' Marsh added.

UNI XC RAR MP AS1246

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