Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Renshaw gets another trick from The Wall
Left-hander hoping advice from an all-time great will help in his second coming as Test opener
Louis Cameron in Dubai
23 September 2018, 04:00 PM AEST
A chance encounter with legendary former India batter Rahul Dravid has reaffirmed Matthew Renshaw's commitment to be Australia's modern-day version of the 'The Wall'.
After forging a career as the hardest man to dismiss in the world and racking up over 13,000 Test runs, Dravid has since moved into coaching and helped India set the benchmark as the world's leading producer of young batting talent.
Renshaw last month made the most of hamstring niggle that saw him miss Australia A's opening four-day game against India A in Bengaluru by hitting up Dravid for advice, with a two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates on the horizon.
"I spoke to him a bit – my Dad has done a bit of work for his academy over there," Renshaw told cricket.com.au in Dubai on Saturday.
"I spoke to him a little bit over there and just (took away) some little things, little gems of wisdom.
"Someone who's got (over) 11,000 … Test runs is someone you want to take as much from as possible. He was always really welcoming and very good with us talking to (me)."
He added with a smile: "I talk about my ping-pong game being a little bit like Rahul Dravid - I just try to get everything back. I'll think about doing that in a Test match."
While Renshaw only managed 0 and 19 in his return for the second four-day game on that A tour, he's confident he's a more effective player on the subcontinent than he was for the Test campaigns in India and Bangladesh last year.
"I watched a little bit of footage of my India tour last year," he said.
"Although I got a couple of fifties, there's still areas I could work on and going big in those series would have helped us."
Renshaw grabbed the attention of Australian fans in his debut Test series two summers ago when he emerged as a modern version of a very old-style opener.
The left-hander's patience and willingness to leave ball after ball was a welcome trait for an overhauled Test side and he broke through with a brilliant 184 against Pakistan in the 2017 New Year's Test in Sydney.
His axing last November for the opening Test of the home Ashes after a lean start to the JLT Sheffield Shield season saw him brought back to earth, but this year he’s stormed back into an unmatched vein of form.
Following an eye-catching Shield final performance and a productive winter stint with county side Somerset, Renshaw has six first-class centuries to his name this year - the joint-most in the world - while his 1199 runs (at 52) in 2018 are nearly 250 more than the next best Australian.
His stroke-play has expanded significantly, but Renshaw is still determined to be the immovable, Dravid-esque presence in his second coming to international cricket.
And with Australia's best two batters and the man who replaced him for the Ashes all missing due to ball-tampering bans, Renshaw looms as a vital ingredient in a depleted top-order.
"I (want to) get an opportunity to bat all day, bat two days, bat three days – however long," Renshaw said.
"I'm just trying to bat and making the bowlers bowl to me and make them get me out rather than me getting me myself out."
Renshaw admits it's comforting to know he has succeeded against Pakistan in the past ahead of the return leg of the 2016-17 series.
But he also noted the major leaps Sarfraz Ahmed's side have made in limited-overs cricket in recent times and expects them to be a tougher proposition in their adopted home in United Arab Emirates.
"It's always nice knowing you've got some runs against an opposition but it's completely different conditions over here," said Renshaw.
"They've got a new young side, who have been really successful in the white-ball format, so I think they'll bring a lot of success over to the red ball and it will be a really good challenge in their home conditions.
"Their spinners are good, but one thing I took out from (last year's) India series was working a lot more on pace.
"A few of the lessons I've learnt ... is concentrating when those quicks come back on.
"You have a little time where you switch off against the quicks in the subcontinent because the spinners are coming at you so hard that the quicks are a bit of a break, but we don't want to have that mentality."
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi