The power-hitting switch giving Scorcher a 'second wind'

Nick Hobson, one of the heroes from Perth's epic BBL|12 Final victory, pens new deal for next season

Nick Hobson's path to Big Bash prominence after hitting the winning runs in Perth Scorchers' record fifth men's title has been anything but linear.

An accountant by day for 10 months of the year, and cricketer by night during the summer, the 29-year-old has had to do it the hard way to break into the big time.

And it's required a relatively unprecedented leap into the realm of specialised 'power finishing', one taken by only few Australians before him.

With his red-ball career having stagnated since losing his Western Australia rookie contract in 2016, the left-hander has thrown himself all in on the white variety and it's paying dividends so far with another one-year deal to return to the Scorchers in KFC BBL|14.

While he sometimes ponders that perhaps he may have gone a "little bit too far" down the white-ball route as the only runs he now gets against the red Kookaburra for his Premier club Claremont Nedlands are when he's "tried to tee off", Hobson knows his approach has opened other doors, which included a role in WA's one-day championship last season.

"I was probably similar to most people and keen to play all formats, but over the last few years I got more opportunity in white-ball cricket, and nothing really eventuated with red-ball," he told this week.

"So I've thrown myself a lot more into white-ball cricket and I'm absolutely loving it.

"I wasn't playing red-ball cricket anyway, so I didn't really lose anything professionally.

"I don't claim to be the best power-hitter in the world but it's just something I've enjoyed. It's definitely impacted I guess (my) more traditional batting but it's a trade-off I'm willing to have."

Hobson celebrates after hitting the winning runs in the BBL|12 Final // Getty

Those trade-offs were featuring in the No.6-7 role for seven of eight games during WA's 50-over title win last summer, which earned him an upgrade to a full state contract by season's end.

A breathtaking unbeaten 64 off 28 balls striking at 228 against South Australia in September highlighted how destructive Hobson can be when it comes off.

After Laurie Evans (189.61), Hobson (141.86) was also the Scorchers' next fastest scoring batter last season (minimum 50 runs).

Hobson hits out for WA with furious 64no

A student of renowned batting coach Jim Allenby, who also works with Australia's T20 No.6 Tim David, Hobson revealed his sliding doors moment came sitting on the bench watching his Scorchers take out the BBL|11 title.

A year later he was the one hitting the winning runs during a partnership with young gun Cooper Connolly that will live long in the memory of the 53,886 fans at Optus Stadium and the millions more that witnessed it on TV.

"When we won BBL|11 over in Melbourne I was in the squad but not in the team and after that I was keen to improve my six hitting ability and increase my strike rate," Hobson says. "I was less concerned about which position I batted in and more how I wanted to go about it.

"I kind of morphed into that number six role a bit more.

Inside story of Perth's epic BBL|12 Final run chase

"I'm still very open to going up the order but we've got such a talented team at Perth it's kind of where the cards have fallen … but I've really enjoyed that evolution to my game.

"In club cricket I used to open (the batting) a lot more as well but now I've slid down the order a touch to mimic what's it's like in a (Big Bash) game a bit more.

"We've got a great core at WA and Perth which helped me build those skills.

"It's almost given me a bit of a second wind just focusing on white-ball cricket.

"We've got guys in our team who are incredible at switch-hits and reverses like Josh Inglis, and Laurie Evans and 'AT' (Ashton Turner) play a lot of scoops, I'm probably a bit more brute than those guys.

"But it's just finding a method that works for you and I've got plenty of guys in Perth to look up to in that regard."

Hobson admits he looks at things slightly differently to long-time Claremont Nedlands teammate David who said recently he calculates a chase more by the number of sixes needed and less about runs required and balls left.

But the pair's methods and preparation are much similar.

Like David – who Hobson has known since he was about 10 years old – he does a lot of work with Allenby outdoors to help visualise how far the ball travels.

They've also worked on opening up his grip to produce a slightly more open bat face as well as shortening his stride when playing a delivery to enable Hobson to "have a bit more of a golf swing than your old school high elbow" through impact.

Hobson's closed backlift in his debut BBL season in 2019 (left) compared to a his more open pick up in BBL|12 (right) // Fox Cricket

Other tweaks include hitting length balls at the top of the stumps with more of a baseball swing than a traditional back foot punch with a straight bat.

"It sounds simple but it does take some repetitions to get that right," Hobson says.

"It was a little bit jarring at times when you've grown up trying to play straight and then all of a sudden you've got a quasi-baseball-golf swing and you're trying to launch it.

"Overall, I've hit so much with Jim that he can recognise the technical changes or deficiencies I have when I hit with him, and we try and straighten it out a bit.

"He's been massive, not only for my technique and the physical changes (of that), but also trying to transition my thinking around how I should approach my batting to take more proactive approach."

It's a relationship that's evolved into a professional one as well with Hobson now consulting for Allenby's sustainability reporting company Parvate ESG, which has the added benefit of enabling him greater flexibility to take time off for training and matches.

As a contracted Scorcher he trains with the state squad on Friday mornings during the pre-season, as well as with a WA academy squad outside of work hours.

While it's a constant balancing act that "has its moments", it's one that's working as he continues to evolve his game and earn playing opportunities in Perth.

"We've got a great group of coaches and players at the Scorchers and obviously a pretty cool stadium we get to play in every week, so it's great to be back on board," he says.