JLT One-Day Cup 2018
Stanlake fired up by wicket drought
Fast bowler ready to unleash in JLT Cup after failing to make most of Australia A tour
30 August 2018, 08:45 PM AEST
Billy Stanlake is on his way home from a "disappointing" Australia A tour hellbent on taking his frustrations out on batsmen in September's JLT One-Day Cup.
Stanlake continues to be one of Australia's brightest fast bowling prospects, but a wicketless one-day series with Australia A has left him with a point to prove.
And the towering Queensland quick has circled September 16 on his calendar – the date Queensland Bulls face Victoria in Townsville to open the JLT Cup.
Stanlake links up with Queensland with plenty to ponder after an 'A' series that fell well below his lofty expectations. In three matches, including Wednesday's final, he went wicketless, a return of 0-116 in 25 overs.
"I bowled really well at times, but was probably too inconsistent with my line and length at other times," Stanlake told cricket.com.au from Bengaluru before jetting out.
"The really disappointing thing for me was I wasn't able to take wickets. That is my primary role in the team, to take wickets up front with the new ball.
"I was doing all the right things at training so it's very disappointing to not be able to replicate that out in the middle."
Stanlake went to India with a plan to bowler fuller and straighter on the subcontinent pitches, but wasn't able to nail his consistency.
But far from all doom and gloom, the 23-year-old learned some harsh lessons about battling through the rough periods.
"You're always learning lessons, and I could have tried a couple of different things, like coming around the wicket, which I did at one point (in the final)," he said.
"There's always something to take out of it. It's good in a way to go through games where you're not performing and try and work through that where your rhythm just isn't there out in the middle.
"I was going through patches where I just wasn't feeling good and trying to come through that."
It capped a difficult winter for the quick. A star turn in the IPL was cut short by a finger injury, and he was part of the Australia ODI bowling attack that bore the full brunt of an England side at the peak of their powers.
And while Stanlake absorbs the lessons, he continues to be buoyed by the way his body has responded as he pushes memories of a horror run with injuries further into the past.
"The body is feeling great, I'm pulling up really well after games," Stanlake said.
"That's very exciting for me, to be able play 50-over cricket regularly, and the more I'm playing the easier it's getting (to recover).
"I can see my body continuing to improve and I'm able to play a lot more cricket than I have in the past."
It's been three years since Stanlake last played a domestic one-day for the Bulls, and he's keen to put into practice the lessons he's been learning.
"The big focus for me is to be bowling a length that will hit the top of the stumps more often than not," Stanlake said.
"If you can do that more often than not in one-day cricket you're going to create pressure and create chances.
"And to play more of a role for the team by taking wickets up front with the new ball. Hopefully I can do that for the boys and be that aggressor."
If he hones that wicket-taking ability and continues his upward trajectory, Stanlake is acutely aware there's a World Cup on the horizon. And while he's keeping focus on the here-and-now, the desire for a rematch with Jos Buttler, Jason Roy & Co burns brightly.
"I'd love to have another crack at those England boys again," Stanlake said.
"It was a great learning experience just how low the margin for error is at the top level when you're facing some of the best batters in the world and they're in good form.
"(The World Cup) is still a long way away and there's a lot of cricket to be played before then, but it's obviously a great goal to have, to try and make that squad.
"But it's still only one step at a time, and next is the JLT Cup. I haven't been able to play with those (Queensland) boys for a few years so I'm really looking forward to it."