In-form Christian eyes Aussie return
Veteran allrounder believes he is batting and bowling as well as ever after another impressive display in Big Bash final
Louis Cameron at Marvel Stadium
17 February 2019, 09:57 PM AEST
Melbourne Renegades finals hero Daniel Christian believes he's still good enough to play short-form cricket for Australia, after the veteran took out his seventh domestic T20 title in stunning fashion on Sunday.
The Renegades took home the BBL silverware for the first time at Marvel Stadium, prompting an implausible collapse from cross-town rivals Melbourne Stars to somehow defend 145.
After playing a starring role in the Gades' semi-final run-chase against the Sydney Sixers less than 48 hours earlier, Christian was again integral as he and Tom Cooper put together an unbeaten 80-run stand as the hosts recovered from 5-65.
The allrounder then returned with the ball, playing an important death-bowling role to remove Seb Gotch and Dwayne Bravo – the last two wickets in an astonishing flop of 7-19.
"That’s an extraordinary game," Christian told cricket.com.au. "It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
"For us to pull that back and win by 20 or 15 or whatever was just extraordinary.
"At 0-93, looking over at their bench and knowing they still had (Glenn) Maxwell, (Peter) Handscomb, (Nic) Maddinson, Dwayne Bravo and these sort of blokes still to come, we were staring down the barrel.
"You take a couple of wickets and you never know. And sure enough, we just kept taking them. It was an extraordinary half an hour."
Shorn of his state contract with Victoria at the end of last summer, Christian has had an extraordinary run of success in domestic T20 tournaments in recent seasons.
The 35-year-old has won the Big Bash three times – with South Australia in 2011 in the old state-based competition and the Brisbane Heat in BBL02 – while he's now taken out seven domestic T20 titles out on four continents.
Asked where this one ranked, Christian said: "Right up there at the moment. Particularly coming back like that.
"The game was almost done … For us to fight back like that and get over the line – we still haven’t played a perfect game of cricket yet all year.
"They got off to a flyer with the bat and we scrapped really well. It’s a testament to the guys and the way they’ve gone about it all year."
Christian played the last of his 35 limited-overs matches for Australia in a T20 against India in October 2017 following a surprise recall.
Australia are set to play an increased number of international T20s in the lead-up to the 2020 World Cup to be held on home soil.
Whether Christian, who will be 37 when Australia kick off their campaign against Pakistan in October 2020, fits into their planning for that tournament remains to be seen.
But the journeyman says he's batting and bowling as well as ever.
"I think I can, yeah," Christian said when asked if he's capable of playing for Australia again. "I think I’m playing as good cricket – if not better cricket – than I have my entire career.
"The beauty of not playing four-day cricket for the last 12 months is being able to focus on my skills, particularly my batting and slogging at the end.
"I’ve been practicing slower balls and yorkers and things like that. I feel like I’m on top of my game."