Behrendorff eyes Aussie goal

Western Australia quick puts injury behind him as he prepares for the 2015-16 summer

After a frustrating five months spent recovering from injury, one of the country’s most promising young fast bowlers is setting his sights on breaking into the Australian team.

An excellent season across all three domestic formats propelled Jason Behrendorff into the spotlight last summer.

Former players including Brett Lee, Ricky Ponting and Andy Bichel earmarked him as a future international player, while the 25-year-old also added the title of Domestic Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal evening to his burgeoning resume.

Behrendorff collects domestic gong

However, his outstanding season was cut short after Behrendorff helped the Perth Scorchers to a second-straight KFC T20 Big Bash League title, when an MRI revealed a partial fracture to a bone in his back.

The injury meant the left-armer missed the remainder of a breakout season that had seen him become one of the most talked about bowlers in the country, and tipped as a World Cup squad ‘bolter’ by both Ponting and Lee.

After stints with Australia A and the National Performance Squad in the winter, he started the domestic summer with 11 wickets for the Alcohol. Think Again Western Warriors in the Matador One-Day Cup, including a match-winning haul of 5-27 in the final against NSW Blues.

He took 15 wickets at an average of 16.73 in BBL|04 and finished the second-highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield with 40 at 22.75.

Behrendorff's blitz in thriller

Having resumed training ahead of the 2015-16 summer, Behrendorff said he hoped a modified technique would allow him to again spearhead the Warriors’ pace attack and prevent a recurrence of his back injury.

"I hope the combination I've been doing on my action and the increased strength I'm able to get through my work in the gym will get me a little bit quicker," Behrendorff told The Canberra Times.

Getting himself ready for the Warriors’ one-day campaign is the next priority for Behrendorff – with the Matador Cup to begin on October 5 – while securing a BBL three-peat for the Scorchers will be another goal in the left-armer’s sights.

However, he also has his eye on a bigger goal – breaking into the Australian team.

"Going through the rehab period was really quite tough at times because you go through highs and lows," he said.

"To have those goals that you can write down and see, this is where I want to be in four weeks' time, eight weeks' time, at the top of my list is playing for Australia.

"That's a big goal for me and hopefully it's not too far away."

Five other quicks to watch this summer

A selection of the country’s best paceman who are yet to play for Australia:

Andrew Fekete (Tas)

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First-class record: 18 matches, 62 wickets at 26.66

The 30-year-old was a late bloomer, debuting only two seasons back, but it was a move to Tasmania that has worked wonders. In 2014-15, Fekete’s tally of 37 wickets (average 24.1, strike-rate 48.1) was the most of any fast bowler in the Bupa Sheffield Shield. That earned the right-armer a call-up to the Australia A squad for the recent tour of India, where he took five wickets at 23.4 in two first-class matches against India A.

Sam Rainbird (Tas)

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First-class record: 15 matches, 46 wickets at 28.71

Rainbird didn’t have the impact he would have liked in the 2014-15 Shield, particularly after earning rave reviews following 27 wickets in his breakout season the summer prior. His 18 wickets in the Shield were accompanied by 11 in the Matador One-Day Cup, which included a devastating 5-29 to run through a strong Victorian order and remind everyone of the talent the left-arm quick possesses.

Andrew Tye (WA)

First-class record: 5 matches, 13 wickets at 32.38

Tye debuted in first-class cricket last summer with the Warriors and was economical without ever making a significant impact as a third option behind the likes of Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Rimmington. It was in the KFC BBL that he shone however, starring for Justin Langer’s Perth Scorchers with 14 wickets. That included a match-winning haul of 4-18 against Melbourne Stars in the semi-final, in which his clever changes of pace were impressively on show.

Joel Paris (WA)

First-class record: Yet to debut

A left-arm quick who swings the new ball prodigiously, 22-year-old Paris has so far only appeared in the limited-overs formats for the Warriors and Scorchers. It was during the BBL side’s 2014 Champions League campaign that he first caught the eye, teaming up with Behrendorff to form a lethal new-ball combination. His happy knack of taking early wickets continued into the Matador Cup, where he took 13 wickets in six matches at 12.92. Injury cost him a place in the Scorchers’ championship-winning BBL side but expect him to figure again this summer.

Chadd Sayers (SA)

First-class record: 34 matches, 129 wickets at 24.69

Sayers began the 2014-15 Shield season with a bang against Queensland last November, taking a first-innings hat-trick before snaring 6-34 in the second. Just three wickets in three matches followed however, before problems with his left ankle cut his summer short. Blessed with a lethal outswinger, though without the pace of many of his rivals for higher honours, the 28-year-old’s breakout year came in 2012-13, when he took 48 Shield wickets at 18.52.