Duffin opens door to shock Australian recall
Four years after walking away from international cricket, Jess Duffin is in red-hot form and admits it would be tough to say no if selectors came calling
20 November 2019, 04:25 PM AEST
Melbourne Renegades captain Jess Duffin is not ruling out a shock international comeback should Australian selectors come calling ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup.
Duffin walked away from the Australian team following the 2015 Ashes, taking an indefinite break from cricket and ruling herself unavailable for international selection.
She has since reinvented herself as a dual-sport athlete; returning to Big Bash cricket for WBBL|02 in 2016 while also plying her trade in the AFLW, first for Collingwood before moving to the Kangaroos.
But her performances since taking over the Renegades captaincy this Rebel WBBL season have been a reminder of just how good the 30-year-old was at the peak of her powers in the green and gold.
Coming in at No.5, Duffin is enjoying a stellar season with the bat, averaging 47.6 after 10 innings and striking at 134.9.
The highlight of her WBBL|05 campaign to date was her stunning 75 from 49 deliveries at Junction Oval on November 9, where she cleared the boundary four times, including one massive six that landed outside of the venue itself.
She currently sits eighth on the overall runs table, with 286 runs to her name.
Of the current Australian contracted group, only Beth Mooney (532), Ellyse Perry (469) and Alyssa Healy (287) have scored more runs than Duffin.
Australia will select a 15-player group for the T20 World Cup, to be played on Australian soil next February and March, early in the new year.
Based on her recent form, Duffin’s name is sure to come up in conversation.
"I don’t think you can ever say no to playing for Australia," Duffin said at Junction Oval on Wednesday.
"It’s just whether or not it comes at the right time, I haven’t had those conversations (with cricket or football).
"It’s an honour to play for your country so with a World Cup around the corner, you never know.
"I’ve said hello to (the selectors) a couple to times to make sure they remember me."
One potential problem for Duffin is the clash between the World Cup and the AFLW season, with the batter contracted to North Melbourne for the 2020 season.
Australia’s 15-player World Cup squad will come together in late January to begin preparations for their tri-series against England and India, which will serve as a warm-up for the ICC tournament beginning February 21.
The Kangaroos kick off their AFLW campaign on February 3.
"I haven’t even worked it out, it probably would be an issue for the Kangaroos, so I’m just speaking on my own behalf," Duffin said.
"It has to work out (with the Kangaroos), if it doesn’t work out, unfortunately I wouldn’t be able to do it."
Duffin played three Tests, 50 ODIs and 64 T20Is between 2009 and 2015 and was part of Australian World Cup winning teams in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 - and took out player-of-the-match honours in two of those finals.
Speaking to cricket.com.au before the start of the WBBL|05 season, Duffin recalled the tough decision to walk away from her Australian contract following the 2015 Ashes.
"I really enjoyed my time playing with Australia and when I did have to make that choice to give it up, it wasn’t taken lightly," she said.
"It took me a long time and I had to think about the repercussions of it and what it meant for my life at the time, and what it meant for me as a cricketer."