Renshaw is a lock for Test tour of India

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    As Matt Renshaw crawled through the first session yesterday, more than one Channel Nine commentator mentioned the Australian batsman had a limited range of strokes. Similar comments were being made by fans online.

    It was an understandable opinion to have given that, in Renshaw’s brief Test career to that point, he had scored predominantly off his pads through the legside. His scoring avenues had been very limited.

    For people who hadn’t seen the 20-year-old bat in the Sheffield Shield or domestic One Day Cup – neither competition is well followed – all the evidence they had was his shackled strokeplay in the baggy green.

    But those of us cricket geeks who had got a good look at Renshaw at State level had seen him unfurl a far greater repertoire of shots, particularly when well set. Truly is a throwback opening batsman.

    Matt Renshaw

    Like some of the great openers of the past, he prefers to play within narrow parameters until he feels well set.

    Renshaw is at his most comfortable scoring through the leg side, so that’s what he focuses on before he gets his eye in. His vast patience allows him to wait and wait until the bowlers strays on to his pads before he looks to score.

    At times this can be to his detriment – he undoubtedly needs to improve his strike rotation.

    But it’s also a trait which should serve him well in the longest form of the game. The common desire among modern Australian batsman to immediately impose themselves on opposition bowlers is a key reason the side has had so many collapses in recent years.

    Where many batsmen refuse to play within themselves in their first hour at the crease, Renshaw relishes it.

    He’s also fortunate that, in the ballistic David Warner, he has the perfect opening partner to allow him to bat with such caution. Yesterday as Warner dashed to a century before lunch, Renshaw crept along. At the break, Warner was 100 from 78 balls and Renshaw was 25 from 84.

    At no point during his 151-run stand with Warner did Renshaw let his ego get the better of him.

    The young left hander did not try to match his teammate, content instead to operate in his slipstream. But once Warner was dismissed, Renshaw took it upon himself to up the ante.

    After scoring at a strike rate of 30 in the first session, he doubled that to 62 in the second session. Then, after tea, we saw the full extent of Renshaw’s talent. He laced 84 from just 98 balls, playing in an expansive manner unrecognisable from his earlier approach.

    Renshaw dispatched 11 deliveries to the rope in the third session, having hit just seven in the first two. Among them were scything cuts, powerful off drives, trademark flicks off the pads, and even one audacious shot more commonly associated with cavalier batsmen like Glenn Maxwell.

    That stroke, a reverse sweep, flew off the middle of Renshaw’s blade from the bowling of one of the world’s elite spinners, Yasir Shah.

    The very next ball Renshaw skipped down the deck and planted Yasir back over his head for another boundary. At this point, Renshaw was donning a Superman cape, long ago having shed his conservative Clark Kent persona.

    So confident did Renshaw grow that, with just three balls left before stumps, he again charged Yasir and lofted the ball over mid off for four. It was a resounding finish to an extraordinary day for the rookie.

    This settle-then-accelerate strategy has been the template for Renshaw’s batting at Shield level. In his last Shield match before earning Test selection, Renshaw dawdled to 22 runs from his first 103 deliveries, before sprinting to 136 runs from his next 151 balls.

    It’s a tried and true method in Test cricket, but one which few batsmen these days have the patience to implement. Renshaw has not just the patience, but also the talent.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (94)

    • January 4th 2017 @ 6:43am
      qwetzen said | January 4th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      “more than one Channel Nine commentator mentioned the Australian batsman had a limited range of strokes.”

      Hint: Quoting Nein comms as an authoritative source is likely to antagonise a fair chunk of readers.

      • January 4th 2017 @ 9:25am
        Internal Fixation said | January 4th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        I think you may have missed the point – Ronan is implying the Channel 9 commentators are making it up as they haven’t seen any of his Shield games.

      • Roar Guru

        January 4th 2017 @ 6:18pm
        no show said | January 4th 2017 @ 6:18pm | ! Report

        “Nein comms”

        That made me giggle 🙂

        There might as well be no comms on nine sometimes

    • January 4th 2017 @ 7:02am
      Rob JM said | January 4th 2017 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Warner is starting to look old, needs a young bloke up the other end to give him a rest during overs!

    • January 4th 2017 @ 7:34am
      James Jackson said | January 4th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      To think we could potentially have this guy around the national team for 15 years is staggering, obviously it’s a long road but he’s got the ingredients.

      • January 4th 2017 @ 8:09am
        Nudge said | January 4th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Agree, he’s a 15 year player. Australia’s top 5 look set now for the next 5 years. The fast bowling is set for the next 5 years, having Hazlewood, Starc, Cummins, Pattinson, Bird, Stanlake and Paris to choose from. We will always have a decent spinner in Lyon or Sok to choose from, so we just need a number 6 and a good keeper who can average 35 with the bat

        • January 4th 2017 @ 8:40am
          James Jackson said | January 4th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          I’m still of the belief that Mitch Marsh will develop into the missing piece in the next 2-3 years. He’s shown what he can do across multiple formats, he just needs to emulate it in Tests. Look at Starc, who many were questioning would ever be good enough for Test cricket up until our tour of Sri Lanka, and is now a key player.

          I would love to see Sam Heazlett, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Dean and Jake Lehmann push hard with 50+ averages in the coming couple of seasons, then we would have competition and excellent bench strength to match our current line up.

          • January 4th 2017 @ 9:57am
            Axle and the Guru said | January 4th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            Both Marsh brothers are finished, there on the back burner now with Burns, Maddinson and Fawkner, none of them may ever play test cricket again as the young blokes in the side are cementing their places with Cartwright the exception, but that may change today, James Pattinson may put some pressure on the bowlers for a spot if he can maintain some fitness, Sayers for some reason has the wrong surname and will never play test cricket, Cummins will never play test cricket again, his body is not up to it.

            • January 4th 2017 @ 10:39am
              James Jackson said | January 4th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              I feel like that’s such a disingenuous statement, when we’ve seen time and again that world class all-rounders peak past 25 after properly honing both skills to a Test level.

              • January 4th 2017 @ 10:51am
                Nudge said | January 4th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                Well said James I’d ignore that whole post. Totally agree I still think Marsh will turn out to be a very good test all rounder

              • January 4th 2017 @ 11:39am
                TheCunningLinguistic said | January 4th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

                Well said, James. I do not subscribe to Axle’s theory/rant either. I believe there’s still scope for both Marsh brothers- Shaun perhaps only for India, but Mitch definitely for the next 10 years.

            • January 4th 2017 @ 11:06am
              bill said | January 4th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

              Less then a year ago Burns played a similar innings to Renshaw’s from yesterday – after having a better summer then Renshaw – now you have Burns as a never play again category. Suggest we wait a little on naming Renshaw a forever player. (note: I hope he is, but too often in Australian cricket we devalue the baggy green by letting some hold it forever whilst others get a brief chance and then nothing).

              • January 5th 2017 @ 7:36am
                James Jackson said | January 5th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

                Joe Burns is a very good player, just not quite a player who’s wicket always looked secure. Against the swinging ball he’s very edgy and tends to leave gaps between bat and pad too often.

                Like I said, fantastic player, but if he’s a top of the line Mercedes, then Matt Renshaw is a Rolls Royce.

    • January 4th 2017 @ 7:47am
      Jeremy Fisher said | January 4th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Wife nagging..hes too slow.
      Hes doing his job holding an end and rotating the strike.
      Some folk are never happy. They get beat they are whinging.
      A young bloke takes his time to score and their still whinging.
      Hes going great I reckon.

    • Roar Guru

      January 4th 2017 @ 8:06am
      DingoGray said | January 4th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Very good article Ronan.

      It’s great to here the Renshaw method get the credit it due. He may just give us half a chance in India
      if he can sustain his game plan.

      I think Warner very much holds the key in India. You just get the feeling Renshaw will bat for long periods.
      It’s just a case of whether Warner can prosper in those conditions and really put the Indian spinners under pressure.

    • January 4th 2017 @ 8:13am
      David a Pom said | January 4th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      He’ll be found out and likely be dropped mid series. Lacks the fitness to cope with the heat.

      • January 4th 2017 @ 8:28am
        Felix said | January 4th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Yep he’s a Yorkshireman, no chance in the heat 😉

      • January 4th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Sideline said | January 4th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        He’s played almost all his professional cricket in Queensland. I think he’ll have a good idea of the heat mate.

      • January 4th 2017 @ 11:16am
        Rock said | January 4th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        Yep, it’s always nice and cool playing cricket in the colder climate in QLD…………..

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