Mindset change elevates Ross' game to another level

Alex Ross is a household name during the months of December and January and he's hoping his fast start for the Sydney Thunder will help push his case for a return to state cricket

Alex Ross – a.k.a. The Sweepologist – is a household name during the months of December and January with his fearless batting in the middle-order for the Sydney Thunder.

With a career KFC BBL record of 1418 at an average above 30, it makes you wonder why he is hardly sighted elsewhere during the summer.

It's certainly not from a lack of desire but rather one of opportunity.

Ross, who is yet to be dismissed in BBL|11 despite scoring 155 runs in three innings at an impressive strike rate of 146.23, has consistently spoken of his longing to return to one-day and red ball cricket, whether that be in South Australia or elsewhere.

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The 29-year-old last suited up for the Redbacks in November 2019 where he hit 20 not out off 12 balls in a Marsh One-Day Cup match against Victoria.

Outside of the BBL, the right-hander quietly plies his trade for Kensington in Adelaide grade cricket where he has amassed 2,797 runs at 52.77 in the past five seasons, which included innings of 109 in a one-dayer last month and a double-century last year.

But if Ross' fast start to this year's Big Bash, which includes unbeaten knocks of 61, 17 and 77 in his three innings so far, is anything to go by then there's no doubt he will be back on the radar of state selectors soon, or if nothing else, other T20 franchises around the world.

"I've always loved white ball cricket so I'd love to play white ball cricket back in state cricket," Ross told cricket.com.au.

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"I tried to last year, that was the plan around South Australia and was obviously surplus to their requirements.

"An opportunity to play in that format again would be great and I'd still love to play (Sheffield) Shield cricket but it's probably not really on the radar at the moment, I haven't been state contracted or within a state system.

"Perfect world, yes, absolutely, whether it's on the radar it's not really up to me, it's up to everyone else.

"(I'm) really just enjoying my cricket in the Big Bash at the moment and if anything came up, I'd be willing to have a look and see what it looked like."

Ross, who played three T20 games for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League in 2016, said he would also jump at another the opportunity to test his skills around the world.

"I've had a little bit experience playing for Jamaica a few years ago and our side was incredible, we had Andre Russell, Kumar Sangakkara, Dale Steyn, Shakib Al Hasan, and I thought 'geez, what am I doing here'," he says.

"To be able to rub shoulders with some of the best in the world is what those competitions do and any opportunity I'd be given … as a domestic player to go test your skills in different conditions and against some of the best players in the world … I'd be absolutely wrapped to jump all over," he said.

A slight technical tweak and a mindset change when facing the quicks is what Ross credits his blistering start in BBL|11 to.

"I've probably tried to show a little bit more intent against the fast bowlers to either get them out of the ground or tick the ball over and put them under a little bit more pressure," he says.

"I've moved around my crease a little bit more this year.

"It was a little bit of a criticism that came from the Brisbane Heat when I was up there and probably starting a little bit slow and not showing enough intent, which I took on board.

"Moving around, back, forward, and then across the crease trying to create angles and access for my hands and then I back my hands to find the ball from there."

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Ross says he is also eyeing a move up the order if the opportunity presents itself at the Thunder this year.

"I've batted four for the Thunder a few times now when we've had missing players or internationals hadn't arrived yet in other years so it would be nice to head back there," he says.

"Obviously everybody wants to bat as high as they can when there's limited balls available but we'll see what happens.

"I do enjoy that role of being able to bat in any situation – we can be 3-0 or 3-180 with a ball to go – so it's nice to be valued there in that role.

"Any opportunity to go (up the order) is something I would jump at for sure but at this stage I'm really happy where I am."

Ross is in the last year of his contract for the Thunder so his blistering start to the tournament couldn't have come at a better time.

"I've really loved playing for them, it's run really well, really well coached, all the guys are really good, it's a very low ego team, which I'm really enjoying being a part of and the guys all just really want to get the win," he says.

"I'd love to sign again … I guess it's just keep churning out the runs and that's basically your currency as a player.

"This year we've got a really good list and we can win it so fingers crossed we can get back on that winning wagon and see how we go deep into the finals."

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