Gillette T20 v South Africa

Dorff's white-ball focus delivers

Putting on his Test dream temporarily on hold, injury-plagued left-armer credits T20 recall with renewed limited-overs emphasis

Louis Cameron

09 November 2018, 05:29 PM

Jason Behrendorff says his decision to concentrate solely on limited-overs cricket has been vindicated with a recall to the national T20 side, as Australia look to the injury-plagued paceman to turn around their faltering white-ball fortunes.

Named in a 13-player squad for the upcoming T20Is against South Africa and India, Behrendorff returns to the Australian set-up for the first time since his heartening introduction to international cricket in India last year.

It comes with the Aussies having lost 17 of their last 19 ODIs, while the strides they looked to have made in the shortest format earlier in 2018 were squandered with a 0-3 series sweep against Pakistan in the UAE last month.

The practical decision to rest Australia’s premier quicks Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood due to the hectic schedule over the coming months against the Proteas (for a one-off T20 on the Gold Coast) and India (for three T20s in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney) leaves plenty of responsibility on Behrendorff's shoulders.

In a bid to get over the persistent back issues that have stalled his promising career, the left-armer has opted to sit out the first half of the JLT Sheffield Shield season despite still harbouring a strong desire to eventually win a Test berth.

Behrendorff picks up two in first over

"It's something we spoke about at length at the end of last season in particular, because I've had recurrent (injuries), the same ones over the last couple of years," Behrendorff told reporters in Perth.

"It's a decision we didn't make lightly but something we thought, for the longevity of my career, to give me a bit more time now (to recover) has been really good.

"It's a perfect plan now, it's worked out really well. Everything's been leading up well into the Big Bash and this is a perfect stepping stone to get ready for that as well.

"We're going to reassess (the white-ball only plan) after the Big Bash. We'll get through that first and then track how my body's going, see how I'm feeling and make some decisions after that."

Behrendorff needed just four balls back in Aussie gold to show he was ready for a recall.

Wearing the bright colours of the Prime Minister's XI side in his hometown Canberra last week, the adopted Western Australian snagged Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks inside the first over of the match and finished with 3-35 in the upset win.

"It gave us more evidence of how devastating he can be with the new ball," Australia coach Justin Langer said of Behrendorff’s performance.

Behrendorff blitz leaves India reeling

Having long been touted as a potential star at the highest level, Behrendorff stormed onto the scene in October last year when he snagged four wickets in 12 balls, including the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, in just his second international game.

But hopes of establishing himself in the national set-up were dashed due to injury, managing just nine days of cricket during entire home summer.

With red-ball cricket now on hold until next year, Behrendorff hopes he can help turn around Australia's dire limited-overs form.

"Once the guys really know their roles, really get into the groove of things, I think we'll see things turn around," Behrendorff said.

"It is hard, and that's something as cricketers we need to get better at adapting. There is three formats of the game happening at all different times of the year.

"It's all about adapting and the guys who do it the best are the ones who will stay at the top the longest. I think we're slowly getting there, but it just takes time."

Gillette T20s v South Africa and India

Gillette T20s v South Africa 

November 17Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast

Gillette T20s v India

November 21: The Gabba

November 23: MCG

November 25: SCG

Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

South Africa T20 squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.

India T20 squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed.