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Opinion

Australian hopefuls have gone global

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Roar Guru
26th June, 2021
7

With COVID regulations for athletes beginning to ease, many Australians have taken their talents abroad to either the T20 Vitality Blast in England or the Pakistan Super League.

With limited spots in Australia’s 2021 ICC T20 World Cup squad, these international tournaments will be essential for selectors.

In the lead up to the World Cup, most of the talk has been about the Australian batsmen aiming to impress, with bowling spots limited due to the highly likely selections of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar.

With all that being said, here’s a list of six rather under-the-radar Australian batsmen who selectors should keep on eye on.

Josh Inglis
After finishing in the both top-ten leading run-scorers and the top three for most wicket-keeping dismissals two years consecutively in the Big Bash, the WA and Yorkshire product will be eyeing-out a plane ticket to India.

Inglis (26) has dominated for the Perth Scorchers, both opening the batting and in the middle-order.

Although he is yet to make his international debut in any format, he is undoubtedly on the selectors’ radar for a chance to go to India later this year.

Josh Inglis

Josh Inglis (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Inglis is currently representing Leicestershire in the T20 Blast and, after his first eight games, has scored 285 runs at an average of 40.71 and taken four catches behind the stumps.

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On the 20th of June, he made his maiden T20 ton, when he scored a vital 103* off 62 against Adam Rossington’s Northamptonshire. At time of writing, Inglis is eighth on the ladder for most runs scored in the 2021 Vitality Blast.

Tim David
After a breakout summer with the Hobart Hurricanes, averaging 31.00 at a strike rate of 153.80, Tim David (25) has made a name for himself as a dominant middle-order batsmen.

The Singaporean Australian, standing at 196 centimetres, has spent the last month in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with the Lahore Qalandars, playing with the likes of Ben Dunk, James Faulkner and Rashid Khan.

In his six appearances with Lahore, David showed his worth, with 180 runs at 45.00 and a strike rate of 166.66. Batting at No.6, David was able to convert his recent T20 momentum in Hobart to the pitches of Pakistan with ease.

Usman Khawaja
As the most experienced Australian-international in this year’s Pakistan Super League, Usman Khawaja (34) proved to the world once again that age is just a number.

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Khawaja played a crucial role in leading Islamabad United to the top of the table with scores of 18, 40*, 0, 12, 105*, 70 and 1 while opening the batting. Khawaja finished the tournament with a strike rate of 152.79 and an average of 49.20.

His 105* off 56 against Peshawar Zalmi ended the tournament as the equal highest score, drawing with Pakistan’s Sharjeel Khan. Despite this being his first-time in the PSL, the New South Welshman turned Queenslander displayed his class with the bat once again.

Cam Bancroft
Cameron Bancroft (28) has impressed with the bat and with the captain’s armband thus far in the Vitality Blast for Durham. After scoring an impressive 92* and 67 for Durham’s 2nd XI in two warm-up games, Bancroft has performed under pressure for his county side.

So far in the Vitality Blast, Bancroft has scored 181 runs at 36.20 in a successful campaign that has even included a man of the match award for his 76* off 53 against Birmingham.

Along with a strong BBl10 season (156 runs at 39.00), Bancroft has eliminated the ‘red-ball specialist’ tagline that has followed him since his Test debut back in 2017.

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Jake Weatherald
After scoring 96 off 52 in an Australian intra-squad game in 2017 and scoring a BBL final century in 2018, the Darwin product is still yet to make an international debut. Weatherald (26) is coming off a successful BBL10 campaign which saw him finish sixth for most runs scored.

Over the last few weeks, Weatherald has been representing the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League, alongside fellow Australian, Jack Wildermuth. In his five games in the tournament, despite the Gladiators finishing last on the ladder, Weatherald scored a handy 148 runs at 29.60 and ended with a strike rate of 125.42.

Although his performances in the PSL don’t stand out in comparison to his recent Big Bash dominance, in Pakistan, Weatherald has proved his versatility as both an opening and middle-order batsmen against world-class attacks.

Jono Wells
Jono Wells (32) has continued to be one of the country’s most underrated T20 batsmen over the last three years, averaging 44.88, 68.29 and 26.30 in his last three BBL seasons with the Adelaide Strikers.

Despite only playing two matches in this year’s Pakistan Super League, he scored 55* and 6 at 125.42. His 55* off 43 was essential in helping Peshawar Zalmi chase down 174 to qualify for the 2021 PSL final.

Despite limited opportunities, Wells continues to impress and make a name for himself as a dominant right-handed middle-order batsman.

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These six players have proven their worth on the big stage and deserve to be in contention for a plane ticket to India for the T20 World Cup later this year.

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