McDermott comes full circle to reignite talk of Aussie role
With a failed experiment in the middle-order behind him, Hobart Hurricanes star Ben McDermott has reclaimed his place at No.3 with great success to stake his claim for a national recall
22 January 2021, 03:04 PM AEST
Having the learnt the hard way about the perils of getting absorbed by national selection, Ben McDermott's decision to go back to doing what he does best has, ironically, put him straight back in the conversation for an Australia recall.
Shane Warne has declared McDermott ready for Test cricket with the right-hander continuing his standout summer with a brutal 96 against Sydney Thunder, a knock punctuated by a monster six that echoed all over the internet.
'He's put that into Lake Burley Griffin' This was ENORMOUS from Ben McDermott! #BBL10 pic.twitter.com/SHEnclPRA2— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 18, 2021
"I've watched it – I can't lie to you," the 26-year-old said of the sweetly-timed bomb. "I can't get away from it really. It's all over my Instagram."
McDermott benefited from a technical change to his stance that helped him make a strong start to the Marsh Sheffield Shield season, while he also made the most of a late call-up to a three-day tour game against India by scoring an unbeaten 107.
Given that was just his second first-class ton – he was out in the nineties twice during the Shield bubble late last year – McDermott's more likely route back into the Aussie set-up would appear to be in coloured clothing.
Australia have upcoming tours to South Africa (Tests) and New Zealand (T20s) that overlap, opening the door for a host of BBL stars to make the cut for the trip across the ditch.
Just 24 runs behind tournament leading run-scorer Josh Philippe despite playing two fewer games, McDermott has again become one of the most sought-after wickets in the BBL.
It is a far cry from his BBL|09 campaign last summer during which he made the rare request to bat further down the Hobart Hurricanes' batting order in a bid to prove he could bat there for Australia in T20s too.
It was a brave move and arguably not without merit given the struggles Australia's T20 side has had in identifying effective 'finishers'. They have often asked batters who bat in the top three for their BBL sides to adjust to coming in much further down.
Ultimately though, McDermott's ploy backfired.
"I got caught up in that a little bit," McDermott told cricket.com.au
"When you start looking at things like wanting to become a specialist middle-order player just to play for Australia, that's when it can go a bit wrong.
"That's what I tried to do and it didn't go well."
McDermott averaged 26.50 and passed fifty just once, with his strike-rate at 122.68 for the Hurricanes last season.
The Tasmanian had been in Australia's T20 team earlier that summer and had been on the fringes of the 50-over side too but by the end of the season he was on the outer. When Australia picked 21 players to play both white-ball formats in England last year, McDermott was not among them.
But he has made a strong case to add to his dozen T20 Internationals. His return to No.3 in the Hurricanes top order has been a windfall, bashing 397 runs at 49.62 with a strike-rate of 143.32.
"Last year I was pencilled in to come in after 12 overs and try to finish the innings. That was a really, really tough role to be honest," said McDermott.
"I was starting to get it towards the end.
"I definitely learnt some lessons from it and I did have some good games at five and six, finishing the game off. It did show I can do it. But in saying that, it is disappointing not to put bulk numbers on the board, like the top order players normally do.
"To get back to the top of the order, I think that's where I play my best cricket. We've got some world-class openers in D'Arcy (Short) and Wadey (Matthew Wade) and even Will Jacks is an absolute gun.
"Three is hopefully where I can get locked in for the Canes for a period of time."
McDermott has been wicketkeeping for the Hurricanes but expects he will give up the gloves to either Matthew Wade or Tim Paine for Friday's clash with the Perth Scorchers at Marvel Stadium.