Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Renshaw 'impressive in every facet': Vettori
Heat coach has high praise for axed Test opener, who returns home and looks set for Sheffield Shield action next week
17 October 2018, 01:00 PM AEST
Dumped opener Matt Renshaw has won the support of Brisbane Heat coach Daniel Vettori as he returns to Australia with an eye to winning his place back in the Test side via Sheffield Shield runs.
Renshaw was overlooked for Test duties in the ongoing tour of the United Arab Emirates, with national coach Justin Langer citing a lack of match practice as the reason. The Queenslander suffered finger and hamstring injuries in the months leading into the UAE tour, and then concussion in the warm-up match, which prevented him from batting.
"He has batted in the middle in the last three months for probably an hour," Langer said last week. "And it's really hard to come into these conditions when you haven't got match fitness.
"People could argue with that and that's fine, but my view on the world is that there's nothing like match practice and he just hadn't had any."
There were some reports that suggested a lazy attitude to training had been partly to blame for his omission, though Vettori has nothing but praise for Renshaw's work ethic.
"I think out of anyone (at the Heat) last year he impressed the most with his attitude and his ability to learn," the Black Caps legend said.
"The player he was at the start of the BBL campaign, to knocking on the door for selection, and then making the team for the last game showed how hard he worked.
"He went away to Somerset and did the same sort of thing, albeit in a different role.
"I can only go on what I've seen here and he's been really impressive in every facet."
In the UAE last week, Langer also dismissed suggestions Renshaw's omission was about more than a lack of time in the middle.
"(Match practice was) the only thing that played against him this game – not his ability, not his work ethic, he's done all the things so well over the last six months," he said. "And everything he has done absolutely to the letter.
"He's a terrific young player, really good in the group. I admire the way he has gone about it, he had a smile on his face the whole time and there's plenty of future for Matt Renshaw.
"Whether it comes in opening or batting No.3 or … it could come anywhere. He's a good player. I've always said if you open you can bat anywhere in the order. Time will tell."
Renshaw's run of injuries could scarcely have come at a worse time; the left-hander was in career-best form, having plundered three hundreds in succession in the Sheffield Shield as well as an unbeaten 81 in the final, before adding three more centuries to his record with Somerset in the County Championship.
Even so, and without his involvement in the two Tests against Pakistan, the 22-year-old's 15 first-class matches and six centuries are more than anyone in Australia's current top six in 2018.
Speaking with cricket.com.au in May, Renshaw conceded there had been some question marks surrounding his attitude to training early in his time at the Bulls, but insisted those perceptions – which have since changed – had been misplaced.
"People would think I wasn't taking anything seriously," he said. "Which was tough, because my way of going about my cricket is a bit different to how others go about theirs. Maybe a few people thought I wasn't trying hard enough, or didn't care.
"That's completely wrong – anyone who knows me, knows I care a lot about cricket.
"But just my persona, people were like, 'He's just being an idiot – he doesn't care, doesn't care about the team'."
Usman Khawaja, who has captained Renshaw at Queensland in his formative years, has observed the growth of his fellow top-order batsman.
"There were times he could joke around and have fun, and there were times when he couldn't," Khawaja said. "He needed to find that balance of what was appropriate.
"He realised he needed to grow up a little bit to play with men."
Renshaw and fellow Test squad members Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett will likely return to the Bulls' line-up for their Shield clash with South Australia in Adelaide from October 25.