He’s one of the country’s brightest batting prospects but Beau Webster concedes he’d probably still be waiting to make his KFC Big Bash League debut if it wasn’t for his bowling.
Webster has entrenched himself as a key member of Tasmania’s top-order in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons but had to until Friday night for his first hit in T20 cricket.
And the towering right-hander had his work cut out for him in his maiden BBL innings, striding to the middle of the Adelaide Oval with the Hobart Hurricanes reduced to 5-30 following a disastrous start.
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Along with experienced campaigner Jono Wells, Webster showed tremendous composure to briefly consolidate and then expand, finishing with 67 off 43 balls to help the visitors reach a competitive 161.
The rescue act was the kind of knock few No.7s in the BBL are capable of, especially ones playing in just their second game.
Webster though suggested it was his off-spin that saw him finally picked for the Hurricanes after watching on from the sidelines in preceding editions of the tournament.
"I think my batting is still my number one (skill)," Webster said after a Ben Dunk blitz helped the Strikers overhaul Hobart’s total with 10 balls to spare.
"But when it comes to Big Bash we’ve got such a quality top six, the only way I could force my way into the team is with the ball.
"Definitely in red ball cricket, batting is the no.1 priority but if I can keep getting selected with the ball, it’s always a bonus.
"I’ve sort of been squad-filling (for the Hurricanes) for the last couple of years and lucky to enough to get an opportunity this year.
"I was desperate to make the most of it and get a permanent spot in the team."
Since making a "slow start" to his first-class career towards the end of the 2013-14 summer, Webster has firmed as one of the Sheffield Shield’s up-and-coming top-order batsmen.
Two centuries for the Tigers last summer earnt him a call-up to the Australia A side for their winter series against India in September. He impressed in the second match of that series with a patient 79, sharing in a 150-run stand with recent Test call-up Hilton Cartwright.
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Two other teammates from that series - Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson – have also since received Baggy Greens and Webster admits it gives him optimism that an opportunity at Test level may not be far away if the runs keep flowing.
"It certainly gives you hope," he said of his hopes of an Australia debut. "A lot of it comes down to statistics and you want to be averaging in the mid to high forties (in first-class cricket).
"My average (31.88 for his career but 42.81 from his most recent 10 matches) - I’ve had a bit of a slow start to my career – but I’m slowly building it up now.
"I feel like I’m in really good form with the bat and hopefully in the back half of the year I can build toward a 40 average.
"When you see guys getting picked for Australia, Peter Handscomb and Hilton Cartwright, their averages are quite good early in their career."
And while his package as a solid top-order bat and useful spinner could see him discussed as a smoky for Australia’s four-Test of tour of India in February, Webster played down those chances.
"I’m certainly not looking forward to that tour of India,” he said.
"I’m just trying to win games for Tasmania.
"We’ve had a rough trot in the last couple of years and I’m really determined to get us back to where we belong at the top of the ladder."