Matador BBQs One-Day Cup 2015
Behrendorff hoping for World T20 berth
Paceman fit and firing for the Matador Cup and setting his sights on breaking into Australia set-up
28 September 2015, 05:40 PM AEST
Warriors fast bowler Jason Behrendorff says he is feeling stronger than ever as he embarks on a mission to break into the Australian team.
The 25-year-old was earmarked as an international player of the future after an outstanding breakout season in 2014-15, which saw him named Domestic Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal evening, before a partial fracture to a bone in his back ended his summer prematurely.
A frustrating five months on the sidelines followed, but with Western Australia to begin their Matador One-Day Cup defence on Monday, Behrendorff said he was eyeing the upcoming domestic season as a golden opportunity to put himself back in the sights of Australia’s selectors.
“I’m now fit and ready to go. I’m absolutely champing at the bit to get there and play some competitive cricket again,” Behrendorff told cricket.com.au.
“I feel good and I’m really confident in the work I’ve done, so I’m sure that will translate into being stronger and being able to keep going for longer.”
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While defending the Warriors’ one-day title and helping Perth Scorchers to a KFC Big Bash League three-peat are high on Behrendorff’s to-do list for the summer, he will also be continuing to strive for those higher honours.
“Obviously, playing for Australia is the ultimate goal so hopefully that won’t be too far away as well,” Behrendorff, who was born in New South Wales and grew up in Canberra, said.
“For me personally, the World T20 (next March) would be a great spot to aim for. I’ve thought a little bit about that and that’s where I’ve had a bit of success over the last couple of years, especially in the Big Bash League.
“If I can continue where I’ve left off from before I had my injury, I’ll be doing everything I can to put myself in front of selectors.”
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Retirements and injuries have created opportunities in the Australian line-up and Behrendorff said seeing other players who performed well at domestic level earn call-ups, including Tasmania quick Andrew Fekete, also gave him confidence.
“It’s a really exciting time in Australian cricket, and there are always opportunities with fast bowlers in particular because of the nature of the beast,” he said.
“Guys get injured unfortunately and there’s a higher likelihood of that happening to fast bowlers than anyone else.
“There’s always going to be opportunities and when you’re playing for your state, it’s the best audition to play for your country.”
The left-armer said he had made a slight alteration to his action to prevent a recurrence of the injury which cut short his 2014-15 season.
“It’s just about making sure my bowling shoulder stays in a locked back position,” he explained. “When I was getting a little bit fatigued, at times my shoulder would tend to get a little bit lazy and push forward.
“That was a contributing factor to me having that back injury.
“I actually feel more consistent at the moment, which is something I’ve been working on a lot over the off-season.”
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Once his rehabilitation was completed, Behrendorff’s preparations for the Matador Cup included enduring another of coach Justin Langer’s famously gruelling pre-seasons, including a four-day camp on Rottnest Island where they completed a series of tasks including 100 sprints in 100 minutes and a triathlon.
“It’s a lot of do with mental toughness,” he said. “It’s been a really, really tough couple of months but now we’ve done all the hard work so the fun part of the season is upon us now.”
Last year, Behrendorff started the domestic summer with 11 wickets in the Matador Cup, including a match-winning haul of 5-27 in the final against NSW Blues, before continuing his good form into the start of the Sheffield Shield season and leading the way for the Scorchers as they reached the BBL final for a fourth consecutive year.
But the left-armer isn’t burdening himself with any extra expectation based on past performances.
“I’m just really excited to be getting back to competitive cricket again, so I’m not going to put any extra pressure on myself,” he said.
“It would be very nice to go back-to-back (in the Matador Cup). I think we’re in a really strong position.
“It’s not too dissimilar a team to last year and I’m very confident we’ll have another good season.”