He found success on the slow surfaces of India last year, and with the West Indies and USA offering somewhat similar conditions, Behrendorff hopes to make the same impact
Tristan Lavalette05-February-2024 • 12 minutes ago
Fit and active again, and having a fascinating year where he enjoyed a breakout IPL season as a left-arm fast bowler Jason Behrendorff Hopefully his success on slower surfaces will prove attractive as the national hierarchy considers Australia's squad for the T20 World Cup.
Behrendorff will pursue his selection case for the upcoming three-match T20I series against the West Indies starting in Hobart on Friday. He is one of four pace players in Australia's squad and Behrendorff is likely to play in two of the matches, including the third match at Optus Stadium, which will be his first international appearance on his home ground.
“There's probably going to be a little rotation [with the quicks],” Behrendorff told reporters in Perth. “Whenever you get a chance to play cricket for Australia in a World Cup year… it's a great opportunity to put your name forward. I'm really happy to be on the team. Hopefully I can continue to play some good cricket.”
Behrendorff, 33, has long been recognized as an attractive option for Australia. At 6-foot-4, Behrendorff produces a freakish bounce and can swing the ball quickly. Behrendorff was once considered a potential Test replacement for Mitchell Johnson, but persistent back problems led him to concentrate on the shorter formats.
He has not played a first-class match since late 2017, but has performed consistently for BBL powerhouse Perth Scorchers and Western Australia in the 50-over Marsh Cup over the past few years.
Behrendorff occasionally played white-ball cricket for Australia and memorably claimed a Five wickets at Lord's During the 2019 World Cup, where he scored in Australia's victory over eventual champions England by 64 runs.
But Behrendorff's body continually betrayed him and he appeared to be outmatched by several emerging speed players, including state teammates Jhay Richardson and Lance Morris.
As he entered the age of 30, there were fears that Behrendorff might have missed his chance, but he has been able to remain on the park over the past few years, leading to a revival at international level.
“I've done well playing cricket and being on the park, so I've been able to develop my game and get consistency in it,” he said. “It was the same thing with 24 to 29 injuries, I played probably six months out of every 12.
“Hopefully I can really deal with it [years] I will play as much as possible at the end of my career and till my late 30s.
After an impressive IPL season with Mumbai Indians, where he took 14 wickets in 12 matches, Behrendorff ended a two-year international absence last September when he took 2 for 25 in a T20I against South Africa in Durban .
He then was a standout for Australia during the forgettable T20I series against India immediately after the World Cup. In adverse conditions for the fast bowlers, Behrendorff excelled in four matches, taking 6 wickets at an average of 17.83 and an economy rate of 6.68.
Behrendorff had epic showdown He took 1/12 in four overs, which included 17 dots, as India posted 222 for 3 in the third game despite the conditions in Guwahati.
He remained a constant threat with the new ball in trademark fashion, but he also showed his bowling skills at various stages of the innings as he highlighted his repertoire of very slow balls, cutters and yorkers. Due to this, Behrendorff was recently selected as Australia's T20I player of the year.
“I played four out of five games and had a little bit of a change, so it was really a big confidence boost for me in terms of being on the park day in and day out,” Behrendorff said. “I was able to execute my skills, that was the biggest thing for me.
“It was a great opportunity for me to learn and bowl at different stages of the innings in an international match.”
The slow surfaces in India are somewhat similar to the pitches in the Caribbean, where the T20 World Cup, co-hosted by the United States, will be based entirely on Australia.
Australia have not toured the Caribbean often over the past decade, but Behrendorff played two T20Is in St Lucia in 2021. Australia will travel there to play Scotland in a group match on 15 June.
“It was an amazing experience playing there… get used to those kind of wickets which are a little different,” he said. “Some of them are similar to what we faced in India in the recent past.
“So I think I'm taking advantage of that wealth of knowledge, knowing what I do really well, but also adapting to those conditions and the size of the field [if he plays],
While he awaits his T20 World Cup fate, Behrendorff will soon return to Mumbai as he looks to build on last season's IPL campaign.
“It's an exciting period with the return of Hardik Pandya and it's going to be a great experience to have that group again,” he said. “Hopefully we can get back to the top of the table.”
Tristan Lavalette is a Perth-based journalist