If Jason Behrendorff wants to play in the Ashes, T20s against India are key

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

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

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30 Have your say

    Paceman Jason Behrendorff can enhance his Ashes prospects, while veteran keeper Tim Paine has an opportunity to audition for the ODI keeping spot, during Australia’s three-match T20 series in India.

    After being hammered 4-1 in the ODIs, Australia now shift to their weakest format, tackling a team which has long been elite in T20Is.

    The other notable selections in Australia’s squad are veteran all-rounders Dan Christian and Moises Henriques, who are fighting to keep their international careers alive.

    Behrendorff is the most gifted cricketer in the country yet to represent Australia in any format – and he’s a fantastic prospect in all three.

    The 194cm-tall left-armer from Western Australia’s T20 record of 53 wickets at 19, with a frugal economy rate of 7.26, is better than any other Australian quick, bar superstar Mitchell Starc. A threat with the new ball due to his late swing, Behrendorff remains effective in the middle and death overs thanks to his deceptive changes of pace and mastery of the yorker.

    The 27-year-old has started the Australian summer in fine nick with hauls of 3-34 and 1-43 in the domestic one-day competition. While T20 is a vastly different format to Test cricket, standout performances in this series in India could greatly help Behrendorff’s hopes of earning a baggy green over the next six months.

    Australia have an extremely busy summer, with nine Tests in the space of four months – the Ashes followed by a four-Test series in South Africa. With Jackson Bird and James Pattinson injured, Starc and Josh Hazlewood returning from injury, and Pat Cummins’ long history of fitness issues, there may well be some juicy opportunities for other fast bowlers.

    Behrendorff is competing with the likes of Chadd Sayers and Chris Tremain to be the next pace cab off the rank. He owns a brilliant first-class record, with 123 wickets at 23, and is coming off a dominant Sheffield Shield campaign in which he grabbed 37 wickets at 17.

    Paine, meanwhile, shapes as one of the few viable options to take over from struggling keeper Matthew Wade in the ODI team. Since replacing the retired Brad Haddin after Australia’s 2015 World Cup triumph, Wade has averaged just 26 with the bat, which is identical to his poor career average. In his past ten matches, Wade has made just 49 runs at eight, and his glovework is not nearly good enough to cover for his failings with the blade.

    Paine’s last ODI was six years ago but, given there are no standout candidates to replace Wade, the 32-year-old Tasmanian could still make a run at the 2019 World Cup. He is less likely to still be in contention come the 2020 World T20, and the same goes for 34-year-old Christian.

    The Hobart Hurricanes star made his name as a batting all-rounder but it was his bowling which shone in the last Big Bash League, during which he averaged only 14 with the bat, but snared nine wickets at an average of 15.

    It is hard to see how Christian has a significant future in Australia’s Twenty20 side.

    Dan Christian and the Hobart Hurricanes

    Hobart Hurricanes Media

    If New South Welshmen Henriques is to continue to get international opportunities, then this series is crucial. The 30-year-old has flopped during his recent Test and ODI stints, and is yet to make a big impression in his nine T20Is, which have been spread across eight years.

    The same way Australia arrived in India with an ODI squad which looked too weak to challenge the strong Indian line-up, this T20 mob look out of their depth.

    Even at full strength, Australia are an average T20 side. Missing the world’s best T20 paceman, Starc, valuable strike bowler Cummins, elite ball-striker Chris Lynn, and quality all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, it appears as the Aussies are headed for another thrashing.

    Australian T20 squad
    Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

    Australia’s best XI
    1. David Warner
    2. Aaron Finch
    3. Steve Smith
    4. Travis Head
    5. Glenn Maxwell
    6. Moises Henriques
    7. Tim Paine
    8. Nathan Coulter-Nile
    9. Adam Zampa
    10. Jason Behrendorff
    11. Kane Richardson

    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 (30)

    • October 7th 2017 @ 6:33am
      rossco said | October 7th 2017 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Give me a break Henriques again I’ve lost count of how many times he’s failed. If he came from any other state other than NSW he wouldn’t be playing

      • October 7th 2017 @ 3:15pm
        Mr Bean said | October 7th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

        Henriques scored 50 against Sri Lanka in February

    • October 7th 2017 @ 6:52am
      Mike Dugg said | October 7th 2017 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      The Dorff is from Western Australia. No way he will fail

    • October 7th 2017 @ 8:16am
      Junior Coach said | October 7th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Why would form in T20 bowling yorkers and slow bouncers give any indication to how he is going to perform in a Test when it requires a completely different skill set? Having said that i actually agree with the idea he should be in contention, his first class record is very good and his height and bounce are formidable weapons however Australia’s stupid obsession with “norounders ” means he probably wont get picked.

      • Columnist

        October 7th 2017 @ 8:28am
        Ronan O'Connell said | October 7th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        “Why would form in T20 bowling yorkers and slow bouncers give any indication to how he is going to perform in a Test when it requires a completely different skill set?”

        It shouldn’t but it probably will to the selectors. Once a player is under their noses in the national set up, the selectors can be swayed by performances in any format, which history has shown again and again.

        Look at Nathan Coulter-Nile – in the past 2-and-a-half years he has only played 1 first-class match, yet he’s suddenly being mentioned around the traps as a possible Ashes contender due to his great performances in the ODIs in India.

        An awesome T20 series in India would do as much, maybe even more, for Behrendorff’s Ashes chances than a dominant start to the Shield season. The selectors already know he can dominate the Shield, now they want to know if he can handle the pressure of international cricket, regardless of the format.

        • October 7th 2017 @ 3:20pm
          Timmuh said | October 7th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          Agree on both counts; it should be irrelevant but isn’t.
          I guess the mental side is a genuine thing in the case of someone with no international experience. But even there,4 overs where the batsmen are going to take to you is very different to the long grind, but with a chance to settle, that the long form involves. The pressure and mentality are very different.

      • October 12th 2017 @ 10:07am
        dan ced said | October 12th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Do you recall him getting 14 wickets in a shield game late last season? on his return from injury?

    • Roar Guru

      October 7th 2017 @ 11:11am
      Paul D said | October 7th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Just on Pattinson, I did see he had another stress fracture – Kuntouris explained it quite well:

      “During this time we have been monitoring him, including regular scans and recent imaging has confirmed that James has begun to reaggravate his previous lower back stress fracture.

      “Whilst this is very disappointing that James has reaggravated this old injury, we are confident that he can recover from this and return to playing.

      “However, James’ current injury is complex because his history of old stress fractures from his teenage years means there is one part of his spine that absorbs more force than it would normally do.

      “This is the area the of current reaggravation but we are hopeful that we can put strategies in place to help manage this when James returns to playing.”

      I think James Pattinson is going to have to reinvent himself as a 20/20 bowler if he wants to have a career in the game. Someone who has a recurring issue where his back inevitably develops stress fractures due to pressure being put on the same area all the time is not going to be able to bowl extended spells and remain fit.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 12:30pm
        Nudge said | October 7th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

        The problem for Pattinson is that he isn’t a good white ball bowler. Offers too many loose balls that go for runs because of his pace and inability to bowl Yorker length balls. Often the batsmen get inside edges for four edges through the slips for four. He can’t consistently put the ball where he likes so he can’t consistently put the ball in the block hole. Sadly for Pattinson he has to make it as a red ball cricketer and that is becoming more unlikely by the year

        • Roar Guru

          October 7th 2017 @ 5:37pm
          Paul D said | October 7th 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

          Hence reinvent, I’ve seen him get carted plenty of times in the big bash for much the reasons you suggest. I think it could be done, I mean he’s a fantastic red ball bowler because that’s what he’s practising on being. If he changes the focus of his practice, I don’t see how he doesn’t get better. Look at him in England only a few months ago, he topped the bowling charts in their domestic one day comp, 13 wickets at 36 from ten games and an economy rate of under 6 an over in a very high scoring competition

          Obviously have no idea to the mindset of him but it’s a fact that your body sometimes doesn’t measure up to your mind, he is coming to realise that and I think at some point he’s going to say enough is enough, I mean it must be so frustrating for him, particularly given how good he is when he’s on

      • Roar Guru

        October 7th 2017 @ 12:43pm
        Rellum said | October 7th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Honestly I would be getting a second opinion on those stress fractures. With all the injuries our fast bowlers get Kuntouris and the sports science team should be under the pump.

        • Roar Guru

          October 7th 2017 @ 5:39pm
          Paul D said | October 7th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

          He did change his bowling action mid test match against medical advice – don’t think it’s necessarily all on the physios. I just don’t think he can bowl for long periods of time without aggravating it from the sounds of it, regardless of who he talks to

          • October 7th 2017 @ 10:29pm
            Nudge said | October 7th 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

            Maybe he’s got to look at only playing during the Australian summer. He does strength work in the Australian winter, starts preseason in June plays the first few shield games, if he’s up and firing and in your top 3 bowlers he’s plays the 5 or 6 home tests, then after the Sydney test, that’s the end of the season for him. I’m sure it would be frustrating not playing more, but if he could play another 5 or 6 years it would be worth it.

    • Roar Guru

      October 7th 2017 @ 12:45pm
      Rellum said | October 7th 2017 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

      The selectors are on record saying international experience is more important than domestic form. But I feel as the team looses more and more, and the more old school players/thinking are having some success the selectors are starting to go back to looking at domestic cricket as more than a annoyance.

      Edit: So I don’t think T20 international form will be as important as it was a few years ago.

    • October 7th 2017 @ 2:07pm
      ThugbyFan said | October 7th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

      Sometimes you wonder if the selectors are smoking some seriously powerful stuff or just making sure each of their favorites get a run. Look at last Summer, instead of picking Jason Behrendorff who killed them in all forms of the game, the Big Bash, Matador 50 over and Sheffield Shield, they went for Billy Stanlake. WTF!

      To make matters worse, G.Maxwell effectively got rubbed out by S.Smith and Boofhead. Memo to selectors: you play either Maxwell or T.Head, pointless playing both of them. Mind you, they soon brought the big boys back, M.Starc, P.Cummins and J.Hazelwood and still got flogged by the Kiwis, a shame as I would have loved to see how the kiwi batsmen handle Behrendorff’s pacey high bouncing late swing.

      To be fair to the Aussie quick bowlers, the loss in New Zealand was more to do with the Aussie batsmen falling in a heap anytime they see a ball swing, ie: T.Boult. They are not much better with quality spin either.

      When smug Indian and English fans say the Australian cricketers are flat track bullies, they are spot on. Any series that doesn’t have the newly built motorway section of the Pacific Highway as the wicket, you can guarantee there will be one or more Aussie collapses and very soon.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 3:14pm
        Mr Bean said | October 7th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        Behrendorff was injured last summer

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