Faith and failure powering David’s jet-setting journey

Three countries, eight days, and one final-ball boundary. Tim David is paying back Australia’s trust in his unusual cricketing lifestyle

'Not settled on a final 15' for World Cup: McDonald

The final match of Australia's home international season might once have been a chance for players to sit back and reflect. For Tim David, last week's third T20 International against West Indies was the complete opposite.

After David had continued his post-Big Bash resurgence by blasting four sixes in the Aussies’ doomed chase at Perth Stadium on Tuesday last week, the T20 freelancer made a brisk dash from his hometown ground to the airport as soon as the match concluded.

A little more than 24 hours later, 11-and-a-half of those spent on an overnight flight to Dubai, David was pulling on the blue uniform of MI Emirates for a qualifying final in the ILT20 which had been rearranged partly to accommodate his availability.

He hit four more boundaries to help the UAE franchise owned by his Indian Premier League team, Mumbai Indians, into a final he would not be able to play due to Australia's Chappell-Hadlee T20I series against New Zealand.

David was playing in Dubai barely 24 hours after turning out for Australia in Perth // ILT20

Come the following Wednesday in Wellington, David showed no signs of fatigue as he suited up for his third game in as many countries in the space of eight days.

He smashed his fifth, sixth and eighth balls faced for sixes before powering the final delivery of the game for the match-winning boundary.

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"We've seen it all around the world, and now we're starting to see that really connect in Australian colours as well," said coach Andrew McDonald.

"That's really pleasing, and it's an exciting prospect to have Tim David finishing games like that for Australia."

The 27-year-old’s frenetic journey, endorsed by Australia's team management, highlights how their increasingly open-minded view of the new world of global franchise cricket has helped nurture him into one of their trump cards for this year's World Cup.

David is a truly unique prospect for Australian cricket given he does not hold a state contract (and did not have a national one until meeting the threshold to be upgraded late last year) as he instead mainly makes his living playing in T20 leagues all around the world.

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To date, he has played 214 T20 matches and zero first-class games.

Given his non-traditional cricketing lifestyle, David could quite easily drift away from an international program that has typically required a more structured graduation into its ranks.

His struggles last summer for the Hobart Hurricanes (the only side he regularly features for on home soil), for whom he scored just 112 runs at 16 in nine innings during the recent KFC BBL, could similarly have been viewed by national selectors less sympathetically.

But there is an acceptance that players like David will fail more often than they succeed in a finishing role where they are quite often required to attempt to find the boundary from the moment they arrive at the crease.

Armed with the knowledge that the faith in him remained even after his poor BBL, David recaptured his best in remarkably quick time.

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In his next 10 games in the month after the BBL, playing first for MI Emirates and then back in Australia for the three-match T20I series against West Indies, he belted 266 runs from only 149 balls at a strike-rate of 178.

The right-hander finished not out in six of those 10 innings, including all three against the Windies.

The biggest reward for the trust placed in David came at Sky Stadium when he put a Tim Southee yorker that most (including, by Mitch Marsh’s own admission, his captain and batting partner at the time) would not have had the power to muscle to the boundary.

"It takes a long journey," coach Andrew McDonald said. "I think any time you're in those finishing roles, it's littered with failure across that journey.

"To be able to come through and out the other side, and when you get that opportunity as well to be in those situations and then take the opportunity, there's a lot of mental strength to it.

"But there's also just a lot skill, high-level skill. It's powerful hitting, it's something different.

"We've seen some great death hitters over time and sometimes in opposition teams as well.

"It's a scary proposition when he walks to the crease for any opposition bowlers.

"I think the journey and the failures along the way build the player you see out there today."

David will be a threat again in the final two matches of the series at Auckland's Eden Park, the rugby ground which boasts straight boundaries so short that it would not be permitted to host international cricket if its use for top-flight games did not predate ICC regulations on minimum ground dimensions.

From there he will return to the T20 circuit with Mumbai Indians in the IPL before featuring in Australia's T20 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean in June.

Qantas Tour of New Zealand

February 21: First T20: Australia win by six wickets with 0 balls to spare

February 23: Second T20, Auckland, 5.10pm AEDT

February 25: Third T20, Auckland, 11am AEDT

Australia T20 squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

New Zealand T20 squad: Finn Allen, Devon Conway, Tim Seifert, Rachin Ravindra, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Mitchell Santner (c), Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult

February 29 – March 4: First Test, Wellington, 9am AEDT

March 8-12: Second Test, Christchurch, 9am AEDT

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.