Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Renshaw returns with runs on the mind
Opening batsman back in maroon and hopeful of a change in run-scoring fortune as Queensland eye defending Shield champs in Melbourne
7 November 2019, 09:56 AM AEST
Opener Matthew Renshaw has returned to Queensland's 12-man squad for next week's Marsh Sheffield Shield clash against Victoria at the MCG.
Renshaw has overcome a nasty bout of gastro that saw him briefly hospitalised and withdrawn from a one-day and Shield match for the Bulls, with the left-hander looming as an important addition to a side shorn of Australia A trio Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Michael Neser.
"I got ruled out of our one-day game on the Gold Coast (on October 31) and then was struggling to keep anything down and had to go into hospital to (be put on) a drip and try and get some fluids back into me, because I hadn't eaten or drunk anything in a couple of days," Renshaw told cricket.com.au of his recent illness.
"I was in hospital for three or four hours and felt a lot better after that. I've been trying to put the weight I lost back on and (retain) the fluids with that.
"It was just a bug going around and I got sent away (from the squad) pretty quickly because they didn't want anyone else catching it."
Renshaw is viewing his return to Queensland colours as the beginning of another brief period of Shield cricket in which to find form and again press his claims for higher honours.
The 23-year-old has made a pair of half-centuries in the Marsh One-Day Cup this summer but failed to reach 25 in four Shield innings. His last first-class hundred came in June 2018 and marked the end of a purple patch of form for the 11-time Test representative, who remains the only Australian to score 500 runs in Baggy Green before turning 21.
"Going down sick obviously wasn't ideal but it was a bit of a refreshing period for me as well after a busy couple of weeks," he said. "I feel like it's given me a chance to get my mind focused before a big couple of Shield games.
"I was feeling really good before I got sick, which was frustrating, but I'm raring to go now for next week down in Melbourne."
Renshaw insists he feels "close to scoring some runs" but concedes his optimistic outlook ensures this is typically the case. By the same token, he knows too well the fickleness of the sport – particularly for an opening batsman at his home venue.
"If I'm honest there's a little bit of luck involved (in making a big score), which a lot of people discount," he said. "If you're struggling and you manage to grind out a nice 70, you've probably had a bit of luck.
"But I think it's also about applying yourself for longer, and it's tough to determine how you're doing that sometimes when you're playing on the Gabba and you get one that's got your name on it.
"But I do think your mental space is as important as the technical."
As state teammates Burns and Khawaja again find themselves in the thick of the much-discussed battle for Test batting positions, Renshaw, who hasn't played a Test for 19 months, knows his absence from that debate means he can more readily focus on his task at hand.
"When you first lose your Test spot it's obviously disappointing, but as an opener you have to accept it can be a great day or it might not be," he added.
"It's about when you do get in and have an opportunity to score some runs, you go really big and make sure you're out there for a long time.
"I probably accepted that I wasn't in the frame (for the upcoming Tests against Pakistan) unless I scored a thousand runs in the first four games. It's nice to take a back-step and just try and help the guys who are going through that selection stuff, and be able to concentrate on winning games for Queensland – that's my job at the moment."
The Bulls have also named promising paceman Blake Edwards for the clash with the winless Vics, with the 20-year-old long regarded as a top prospect having represented Australia at underage levels.
In the absence of Khawaja, wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson will captain the side.
Queensland Shield squad (Nov 12 v Victoria): Xavier Bartlett, Blake Edwards, Cameron Gannon, Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan McSweeney, James Peirson (c), Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth