By Andrew McGlashan
The superstar from the T20 league circuit is all but certain to play T20Is against India this week
THERE has been a lot of talk about what Tim David might be able to do in an Australia shirt. Next week we will get the first chance to see what he can do.
It was always likely these three games in India would provide David the chance to make a debut for his second international team – he has played 14 T20Is for Singapore – but the injuries to Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis have made it all but certain.
By the time the World Cup comes around in a month’s time, David could have eight matches for Australia under his belt with series against West Indies and England to follow.
But David’s is a strange entry into Australian colours because he’s been up in lights on the big stage for some time already, yet apart from his two-month stint in the BBL, he is outside of the Australian cricket system. The way the sport’s landscape is rapidly changing, he is unlikely to be the last to take this path. Some of his new team-mates are still to be introduced.
“I look forward to meeting him,” said Mitchell Starc, who will now have to wait until next month having sat out the India trip. “He’s obviously plied his trade around the world in different leagues. He’s got his opportunity now in the World Cup squad.
“Think we’ll see more and more players (emerge) in that fashion. Certainly the next generation I’m sure we’ll see it more and more with more opportunities in different leagues; that’s just the way cricket seems to be heading at the minute.
“I’m much the same as (the public), I’ve seen him on TV. Obviously that power and what he brings to the table to any team he plays for and now he has a chance to do that on the international stage.”
David’s body of work produced during his globe-trotting cannot be doubted. For teams he has played more than two games since December 2020, when his T20 league career started to take off with Hobart Hurricanes, his lowest strike-rate is 143.92 with St Lucia Kings in the CPL. His strike-rate of 216.27 for Mumbai Indians in the last IPL made a mockery of his exclusion during that competition.
That latter figure also suggests he should not have too many concerns adapting to the conditions over the next week in India. The quality of the bowling may be a different challenge given that there is rarely a weaker link that is sometimes the case in franchise cricket, but he has a good grounding.
“One of the rare things he has which there isn’t a whole lot of in Australia is just raw power,” Glenn Maxwell said. “He’s able to muscle the ball, much in the same way Stoinis and Mitch Marsh do it. He’s probably developed his game a little bit over the last two years where he’s got a bit more off-side (shots) so he’s not a one-dimensional hitter; he’s able to clear the boundary in different areas. He does it against spin and quicks which is something that’s really impressive and something that impressed me during the IPL as well, watching him go about his business.”
However, in terms of David’s position in the team, it’s what comes after India that is most interesting. Assuming that Marsh and Stoinis are both fit, come the World Cup, there remains a decision to be made as to how he fits into the final XI.
Despite being able to shed his tag of ‘Mr Fix It’, Steven Smith would appear the most vulnerable (setting aside, for a moment, the ramifications of Aaron Finch’s poor form extending through the next few weeks).
“I feel like when I’m playing good T20 cricket, I’m in that team for sure,” Smith said during the recent one-day series against Zimbabwe.
“The role that I’ve been given the last couple of years is the ‘Mr Fix It’ role and that tag’s been taken away from me now. I can just take the game on and if I want to smack someone for six first ball, then I’m able to do that freely.”
Whether that is really his game, though, is the question. While not a completely fair comparison given their roles, in 200 T20 innings Smith has hit 130 sixes and in 119 innings David has already struck 165.
There remains a feeling that Australia like having Smith in their line-up. So if they keep him and swap David for a more like-for-like player, the only option would be Stoinis, who helped win the World Cup semi-final against Pakistan last year and has since struck at 162.50 in T20Is. He can also provide some overs if needed.
A lean return in these three matches against India should not dampen David’s chances of playing in the World Cup, either. But if he replicates the type of innings he has already shown around the globe, then he will be even harder to leave out than it already looks. (Cricinfo)