Silk's smooth transition took Wade years of convincing

The Tasmanian batter has taken to his new middle-order role like a duck to water this season, as he prepares to captain the Tigers in the absence of injured Beau Webster

It took Matthew Wade about three years of badgering to finally convince Jordan Silk a move down the batting order was inevitable.

The 29-year-old, who originally hails from Glenbrook in the NSW Blue Mountains, was a bit apprehensive to make the switch having always batted at the top of the order, even during his club cricket days for Penrith in Sydney.

But he admits the persistence by one of Australia's T20 World Cup heroes eventually won him – and Tasmania's coaches – over.

"It was a couple of discussions with Matthew Wade a few years ago, and he's sort of chipped away at me over the last year," Silk tells ahead of Sunday's Marsh Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia, where he is set to captain Tasmania in the absence of the injured Beau Webster.

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"I hadn't strayed too far from the top three to be honest.

"Wadey finally won me over and … he was able to persuade (coach) Ali (de Winter)."

But Silk, who at 16-years-old became the youngest player to score a century on debut in Sydney first-grade cricket, has taken to the middle-order like a duck to water.

While the position is not foreign to Silk in white ball cricket, it's a far cry from when he started his first-class career with Tasmania.

When he first burst onto the Australian cricket scene in March 2013 in the Sheffield Shield final, he occupied the crease for more than seven-and-a-half hours.

With a staunch defence and an unrelenting patience to make the bowlers bowl to him, the then 20-year-old looked every bit like a ready-made Test opener.

Silk showed an adept ability to occupy the crease for long periods, and over his first three Shield games, including that drawn final that handed Tasmania the title, scored an impressive 348 runs, including two centuries, off a grand total of 899 balls.

But it has been in the Big Bash where he has established himself in a middle-order role, with his 27 not out off 15 balls at a strike rate of 180 helping the Sydney Sixers to the first of their two consecutive titles in KFC BBL|09.

His electric fielding and clever middle order batting have rendered him a crucial cog in the Sydney Sixers’ back-to-back title winning sides.

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Silk says the Big Bash has helped with his switch to the middle-order in red ball cricket, too.

And it shows, as he now scoring quicker than ever.

Indeed, Silk’s strike rate over his first three Sheffield Shield seasons hovered around 43, while this season it sits just above 65 across both the one-day and four-day formats.

He notched an unbeaten 100 in 131 balls in a high scoring draw against South Australia at Karen Rolton Oval in October, before peeling off a sensational 90 not out off 99 balls to lead the Tigers to victory in the Marsh One-Day Cup over Western Australia five days later.

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"I feel like I can somewhat express myself in that (middle-order) role," Silk said.

"I've been trying to bring some of that white ball energy I've been able to create through one-day cricket for Tassie and the Sixers and bring that into some Shield cricket.

"It's certainly freed me up and I probably have a few more scoring options, but I also think I'm just in a good space with batting right now and it's as good as I've batted throughout my career.

"I feel like I've been able to merge the two games together a lot easier, been able to chop between both a lot easier because they now have quite similar roles … it's made the training part of it a bit simpler for me.

"I still think there's a lot of good qualities I'm able to bring as an opening batsman into that middle order too – they often talk about (that) if you can open, you can bat anywhere.

"Against South Australia just gone, two overs into my innings I'm facing a new ball, it's a good thing to still have that new ball experience."

Silk added that batting in the middle-order in four-day cricket had also helped changing formats and it doesn't feel like such a big jump to get back into white ball cricket.

"Certainly, for a number of years, I went through all sorts of techniques and things to navigate the moving ball down here (in Tasmania) and found once I was in a groove of doing that, then I found the transition period, particularly the Big Bash, took me two to three weeks to get back into the swing of things there," he said.

With Wade missing the first part of the season while away for the T20 World Cup, the Tigers needed a senior player to fill the middle-order role.

Image Id: D5AC1726A2264982B55FBD53178A16E8 Image Caption: Jordan Silk on his way to an unbeaten 100 earlier this season

And with two young openers in Tim Ward and Caleb Jewell ready to take the reins, Tasmania felt it was the perfect time to pull the trigger on Silk's move down the batting list.

"He (Wade) was mentioning how he reckons there's probably not a lot of players around the country that were doing what I was doing, which was opening in Shield cricket and then transitioning to the middle ordering in white ball cricket," Silk said.

"He thought, if anything, people go the other way and if you can bring them both together and make that shift into the middle-order, then that would help my Shield cricket going forward."

And while Silk was rushed into the Australia A squad just a month after his Shield debut, his form and a gap at the top of the Australian Test order have never matched up.

But he said the aspirations for higher honours remain, and perhaps his move to the middle-order had opened up more options.

"I still felt like there were really good opportunities to play Test cricket from opening … it seemed like every summer came around it was like 'who's going to partner Dave (Warner)' … but (there's) probably a few more spots up for grabs being a middle-order player now," he said.

"For me at the moment it's probably just believing I'm good enough to be playing solid cricket at this level, but it's taken a while to get to this space, I think you only get there by playing the situations more often."