Australia debutant Cameron Green was “taken aback” by some unusual words of encouragement from an unlikely source when he arrived at the crease for the first time in international cricket.
Green, 21, was visibly nervous as he entered batting at No. 5 in the 23rd over with Australia needing 186 to win against India in the third ODI in Canberra, having never previously batted higher than No. 7 in just eight List A innings for Western Australia.
After negotiating Shardul Thakur’s over Green revealed that KL Rahul had a conversation with him during Ravindra Jadeja’s next over.
“I was actually taken aback by how nice KL Rahul was behind the stumps,” Green said. “I think he asked me if I was nervous or not and I just replied saying ‘yeah obviously a little bit nervous’ and he just said ‘go well, youngster’. I thought it would have been the opposite. I think Virat [Kohli] was trying to be pretty loud at the time.
“I was a bit taken aback by how nice that was. I’ll remember that forever.”
Green made 21 off 27, eventually falling to an excellent catch by Jadeja at deep backward square. He was initially just 3 off 12 balls but said captain Aaron Finch helped him through a tricky start.
“Obviously early I was a bit scratchy…it took me a few balls to get used to it a bit but unfortunately in that situation you had to get yourself in quickly
“I had Finchy down the other end who was absolutely awesome. I think every ball he came up to me and said ‘good job youngster, keep going, you’re batting well, you’ve got plenty of time’. Having him at the other end was pretty special for a guy who has played…someone with that experience at the other end helping you out when you first start, I can’t thank him enough.”
Green’s debut had plenty of hype around it after he made a huge impact with both bat and ball in Sheffield Shield cricket in his first three years as a professional, but he acknowledged the jump up to international level was enormous.
“They’re class bowlers, especially their spinners,” Green said. “I haven’t faced quality like that. Jadeja is just a beautiful bowler who knows exactly what he’s trying to do. Trying to spin a couple away from you and dart one back in. It was class bowling. You can do as much research and watch as much footage as you can, which I did, to get a better understanding of how they bowled, but it’s a different beast when you’re actually facing them out in the middle. It took me a couple of overs to get used to it. But I take a lot out of it.”
Green also bowled four overs which cost 27. He has been on workload restrictions for both Western Australia and Australia as he continues to rebuild from multiple stress fractures in his back. He has only been bowling six overs in training every second or third day and was only going to bowl a maximum of six against India if required.
He nudged speeds of 145kph and produced prodigious bounce that surprised Kohli at times. But he also got an education from the India captain who took Green for consecutive boundaries in his first over.
“Fourth ball I tried to bowl a bumped to Virat and he was back on it so quick. He had so much more time than what I had seen before,” Green said. “Obviously it’s a pretty big step up than what I’ve seen.”
Green will continue to be cautious with his bowling with Australia’s strength and conditioning staff monitoring his workloads extremely carefully. If he were to make his Test debut in the upcoming Test series it would be unlikely he would bowl a lot of overs.
“[My] body is feeling really good,” Green said. “[We’re] being very slow. I’m not trying to bowl too many balls. I’ve started to try and do a 20 to 30-minute stretch daily. Something I haven’t really done before, just to feel that little bit better leading into games. But the coaches in WA have been talking to the Australia guys to keep similar plans to what I’ve had previously, just to not bowl too much.
“I think when you get chucked into the Australian team you’re probably going to try and bowl a bit harder than you probably would before. So just restricting that high intensity will definitely help.”
There was a chance Green was going to be released to play for Australia A in the three-day tour game against India A at Drummoyne Oval as preparation for the Test series, but he will remain with the T20 squad and will be pushing to make his T20I debut during the three-match series.
Team-mate Glenn Maxwell was full of praise for Green’s debut performance including how relaxed he had been after being told he would be playing.
“It was seriously impressive, and he’s impressed a lot of people with the way he’s gone about it,” Maxwell said. “Not just with the ball, but the way he bowled to Virat in that little spell, the way he fielded was exceptional. Even the way he went about his batting, he took the game on and it was unfortunate to get out the way he did.”
“I asked him how he’d slept and he said he still got nine hours sleep which is probably more than most of us got before our debuts. But he seemed pretty relaxed and I know he would have been pretty nervous when he first went out to bat, as everyone is.
“Your feet feel heavy, the bat feels a ton but the way he got into his innings, he was able to get through that little bit of nervous energy at the start and then show he’s got a touch of class about him. So it’s good signs for Australian cricket.”
Recent Match Report – Yorkshire vs Leics North Group 2021
Yorkshire given scare in defence of massive 240 in aggregate record for Blast
Yorkshire 240 for 4 (Bairstow 82, Lyth 51, Brook 48*) beat Leicestershire 222 for 8 (Inglis 82, Willey 3-44) by 18 runs
Leicestershire, 146 for 3 in the 13th over with opener Inglis unbeaten, later slipped to a fourth straight North Group defeat. But Inglis ensured they fought to the death at 222 for 8.
This was Yorkshire’s second win in three North Group games, and 462 runs combined equals the Blast record.
The triumph was built on a 113 opening partnership in 10.1 overs between Bairstow and Lyth, with further half-century stands for the third and fifth wickets.
On a glorious Leeds evening, there were 29 sixes hit.
Each of the Foxes six-man attack was taken to task after home captain Willey had won his side’s 10th toss in 11 in all cricket in 2021.
Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq claimed two wickets, getting Willey and Bairstow caught in the deep in the 17th over. That left Yorkshire at 189 for four.
Fellow quick Gavin Griffiths had a night to forget, conceding 60 in three overs, as Bairstow set the tone, giving the Foxes fielders little chance with his power.
Leicestershire’s chase was always going to be a mountainous task. But that suited the dashing style of 26-year-old opener Inglis, who emigrated to Perth just before turning 15.
Having lost Scott Steel to Willey in the first over, Inglis and Arron Lilley took their side to 50 for 1 after only 3.4 overs to threaten a miracle.
Thompson had Ackermann caught in the deep and then brilliantly caught former under 11s team-mate Inglis one-handed at deep cover off Matthew Fisher.
That left 95 needed off 7.3 overs with six wickets left.
Ben Mike’s 31 helped the target to 31 off two overs and 23 off the last – with three wickets in hand. But Willey comfortably defended that and finished with 3 for 44.
Recent Match Report – Essex vs Sussex South Group 2021
Skipper slams 75 from 44 to help make short work of small chase
Sussex 130 for 3 (Wright 75) beat Essex 128 for 8 (Garton 3-31) by seven wickets
The Blast’s all-time leading run-scorer missed the opening two rounds after splitting the webbing in his hand while practising fielding on the eve of the competition. But he made up for lost time by bringing up his fifty in 33 deliveries as Sussex chased down Essex’s below-par 128 for eight with 36 balls to spare.
Wright looked at home right from the start, with boundaries from his second and third deliveries – two of eight fours.
Opening partner Phil Salt earned a life when he bludgeoned a full toss to mid-on, only to earn a reprieve for the umpire to judge the ball to have been above waist-height, much to Simon Harmer’s chagrin. Salt was run out for 13, after putting on 54 with Wright before Travis Head added 60 together with the skipper.
Wright continued to his 26th Blast half-century, going past 8000 T20 career runs, with a pair of straight sixes and another over cow corner. He departed with six still needed but Delray Rawlins clattered the winning runs over long-off soon after.
Wright’s day had started perfectly as he won the toss and stuck the hosts in – although Will Buttleman struck successive sixes in the fourth over. On a used hybrid pitch, scoring proved difficult for Essex with only Buttleman, Michael Pepper and Jimmy Neesham’s strike rates topping 100, for those who reached double figures.
The strain on scoring was exemplified by the last over of the Powerplay, which saw just one run, as Paul Walter struggled to lay a bat on Chris Jordan – the run rate throughout the innings hovering just below seven an over.
To add to the Eagles’ woes, wickets were a regular occurrence. Tom Westley and Buttleman fell in the Powerplay – the former picking out deep midwicket off George Garton and the latter slapping a Tymal Mills slower ball to cover.
Walter was stumped, Ryan ten Doeschate clubbed old pal Ravi Bopara to long off, Pepper – having scored 38 off 25 balls – drilled to extra cover, Harmer miscued to midwicket, Jack Plom skied to mid-off and Neesham was comprehensively bowled.
Garton ended up with 3 for 31, with Mills, Jordan and Bopara all going at under a run-a-ball.
Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Middlesex South Group 2021
Imposing Hampshire target overhauled with two balls to spare in outground thriller
Middlesex 217 for 7 (Cracknell 77, Simpson 62) beat Hampshire 215 for 6 (Short 48, McManus 47, Weatherley 41) by three wickets with two balls to spare
Middlesex pulled off their second highest T20 chase – by three wickets with two balls to spare – in a memorable match at Radlett which saw the next generation take charge of a county going through a difficult transition, and leave another ailing T20 side, Hampshire, fearing that they don’t seem to be in much of a transition at all.
Radlett is about as far away from the ECB’s vision of T20 cricket as it is possible to be. The dream is maximum revenue from large stadia, a football-style atmosphere and a sense of theatre that delights a TV audience. Start an overly loud, alcohol-fuelled chant at Radlett and you may be blackballed from the golf club or become the subject of gossip in the Ladies Circle.
Hampshire’s first 200-plus total for three years was eminently chaseable in perfect batting conditions. But patently not by Middlesex, most of their supporters would have suggested. At 30 for 3, with Morgan trudging off, having reached at a very wide one to hole out at deep backward point, a philosophical kind of pessimism had taken hold.
Radlett is an idyllic county ground: a good batting surface, a ground lined by trees and hedges, and a convivial crowd adopting a Country Show attitude to any minor privations in the marquees and the portable toilets. They were allowed not far short of 1,000 spectators which is roughly the same as some of the smaller county grounds, which have stands and things. All to do with pinch points apparently.
They were on the verge of a colossal Powerplay with 68 garnered from the first five overs and Vince and D’Arcy Short in a blissful world where they could do much as they pleased. With Middlesex lacking five pace bowlers because of injury or (in the case of Tom Helm) recovery from Covid-19, a colossal score looked on the cards.
Then came Cullen. Three off the first over; Vince’s head-high hook falling to deep backward square in his next. In his final over, he twice troubled Hampshire’s ex-Middlesex man, James Fuller, twice for pace, the first of them gloved to third man.
Cullen, a former England U19, has played for Middlesex since the U10s, and both player and club are beginning to reap the reward of years of endeavour. Pacey, with a strong action, he can reputedly swing the ball in four-day cricket, but here, he adapted intelligently and hit the pitch. The assessment of Middlesex’s director of cricket, Angus Fraser, that he “bowls like a grown man” could not have been more apparent.
Green’s night did not begin well. He averages below seven runs an over in a career spanning more than 70 matches, making him beloved of T20 aficionados, and he was also on the back of a five-for against Kent, with four wickets taken in the final over. He was Middlesex’s most expensive bowler, leaking 55 from four overs as his method of pushing it fast and wide across the right-hander brought no dividends.
Middlesex missed chances in the field, and a succession of shots escaped clawing fingers. The most damaging, in more than one sense, was Sowter’s drop of Dawson, running in from deep backward square, his right ankle sprained in the process. But not damaged enough for him to play a part in Middlesex’s uplifting victory.
David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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