After years of hard toil with the ball, Ben Hilfenhaus exploded into form with a scintillating 2011/12 campaign.
The Tasmanian quick had experienced a tough period, as he and the Australian team struggled at home in the 2010/11 Ashes. Hilfenhaus finished the series with just seven wickets at a costly return of 59.28.
Months of hard work with various bowling coaches worked wonders for the opening bowler. A rejuvenated Hilfenhaus was a tentative selection for the first Test against India, but the gamble proved a master stroke.
He claimed his first ever five wicket haul in the big win in Melbourne, finishing with 5/75 from his 26 overs.
He continued his brilliant start to the Australian Summer, picking up another five-for, this time in Sydney. On a flat track that had seen Michael Clarke score 329*, Hilfenhaus toiled hard all day to finish with 5/106.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any better, the paceman picked up match figures of 8/97 from 56 overs to wrap up another big win in Perth.
His brilliant Test form earned him a rare call-up to the ODI side, where he once again starred, taking 5/33 against India.
Hilfenhaus’ superb season didn’t go unnoticed, as he finished the year ranked 6th in the ICC Test rankings (his highest career rating).
The swinging superstar has also developed into a very handy lower-order batsman. Better known for his big hitting, Hilfenhaus has developed a sound technique, which saw him bring up his maiden Test half century.
While Hilfenhaus played a minor role during the recent Australian summer, many expect him to be a factor during the UK Ashes Tour.