Simon Matthew Katich (born 21 August 1975) is a former the captain of the Perth Scorchers, New South Wales Blues, and Derbyshire County Cricket Club. He has also played for the Indian Premier League team, Kings XI Punjab.
He is a left-handed opening batsman and part-time left-arm leg-spin bowler. He is well regarded for his ability and tenacity as a batsman, and draws comparison to former national player Michael Bevan.
Katich made his debut for the Western Australia State team in the 1996–97 season. The following season he was a central figure in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield success, scoring an impressive 1,039 first-class runs for the season. He was selected to tour Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe with the national team the following season but suffered greatly from illness, including a debilitating bout of chicken pox and subsequent health problems. However, he recovered to contribute further for his state, highlighted in the 2000–01 domestic season where he helped himself to 1,282 first-class runs.
He later switched from Western Australia to New South Wales where he currently lives. Katich made his Test debut on the 2001 Ashes tour of England. In only his second match he bowled for the first time in Test cricket, and in the second innings took 6/65 in the 2nd innings against Zimbabwe in Sydney.
Following Steve Waugh's retirement in 2004, Katich established himself in the Australian team. His best Test batting performance came against India at Sydney in January 2004, when his 125 and unbeaten 77 saved Australia the Test, series, and a decade long unbeaten record at home. Despite this, he was dropped in favour of Andrew Symonds for Australia's next Test, in Sri Lanka, when Symonds was dropped after the first two Tests, Katich was picked for the third Test and made a patient 86. He regained his place and enjoyed a good Test series in India in October 2004, where he made good scores of 81 and 99.
His good form continued with 118 against New Zealand in March 2005. Since the commencement of the 2005–06 season, Katich attempted to cement his place in the Australian one day cricket side, having lost his Test place. He had been sometimes criticised for his slow scoring rate in One Day Internationals, but others believe he was the perfect foil to the aggressive fellow opening batsman Adam Gilchrist. Australia persisted with him throughout the VB Series and in South Africa, as Katich scored runs fairly consistently. Katich played a total of 45 One day Internationals. Katich was selected for the 2009 tour to England and he played in all five Ashes Tests, scoring 341 runs in 8 innings at an average of 42.62. Katich opened the batting with Philip Hughes for the first two Tests at Cardiff and Lord's but Hughes was dropped for the Third Test at Edgbaston due to poor form, so Katich was then partnered by Shane Watson for the final three Tests. This proved successful as Watson and Katich scored more runs at the top of the order than Hughes and Katich.
Katich scored his eighth Test century in the First Test with 122. This was backed up later in the series with a half century. Katich scored these runs at a strike rate of 53.87. He also took six catches in the field and effected two direct hit run outs in the Fifth Test. The 2007–08 domestic season could only be described as a triumph for Simon Katich. He smashed 1506 runs to break Michael Bevan's all-time Pura Cup/Sheffield Shield record for runs in a season as NSW romped home undefeated to claim their 45th title.
Aside from being given the honour of captaining NSW in the Pura Cup final against Victoria, Katich also contributed scores of 86 and 92 to lead the match on run aggregate as he had done for the season overall. He was also crowned the Pura Cup player of the year for his 1506 runs at an average of 94.12. The highlight of Katich's season was undoubtedly his 306 against QLD at the SCG, an innings in which the last 200 runs came at better than a run a ball. It was the first time since Sir Donald Bradman that a player had scored 300 at the SCG, and an innings which the Sydney Morning Herald called "superb".
Peter Roebuck later claimed Katich should be the Australian cricket captain after Ricky Ponting came under fire during the January 2008 SCG Test. During the coverage of the final, Damien Fleming described Katich as a left-handed V. V. S. Laxman for his dominant bottom hand and willingness to hit through the on-side. Katich's season culminated with his recall to the national side for May tour of the West Indies. He cemented his place in the Test team with scores of 113 and 157 in the second and third Tests respectively. Katich attended Trinity College in Perth, Western Australia.