Qantas Tour of England - ODIs
New boy Neser hooked for life
Queensland product and keen fisherman revelling in his new role as ODI bowler ... and plans on making a name for himself with the bat as well
16 June 2018, 10:59 AM AEST
Michael Neser was out fishing when he got the call that changed his life. Tonight in Cardiff it could be England bowlers fishing balls out of the River Taff that runs alongside the venue for Australia's second ODI.
The big-hitting Queenslander was out on a boat with former teammate and ex-roommate Nathan Reardon when the phone rang and he found himself invited to the training camp for Australia's one-day squad with new coach Justin Langer.
He hadn't even met all the players in the squad, but after introductions he impressed enough that when Josh Hazlewood was a late withdrawal to manage a back issue, the allrounder was packing a bag for England.
"It was all last-minute, I didn't have too much time to think about it, which was kind of a blessing in disguise," he reflected yesterday from the sidelines of Cardiff's Sophia Gardens ground.
"I was a bit worried my passport wasn't up to date, that was the first problem.
"But after that it was just excitement. My head was spinning, to be honest. It was under 24 hours and I was on a flight to England. It happened really fast.
"It was a very long flight over. I had a lot of time to think about it, things I've got to prepare for, opposition I'm against, and by the time I landed I was all good to go."
A bonding tour to historical World War I battlefields allowed Neser a chance to take stock, before he was handed the new ball for Australia's warm-up matches against county sides.
Then came his "holy shit" moment.
The day before Australia's first ODI, Langer gathered the squad in a tight-knit circle, as he does at the start of every training session. It was there the new coach delivered the news: Neser would play.
"To hear the words just gave me goosebumps and I realised, 'Holy shit, now I'm playing for Australia, it's official'," Neser recalled.
"I was just thinking, 'Don't get injured, get through the training session uninjured'.
"Two weeks prior to that I didn't expect to be anywhere close (to the one-day team). It just goes to show in cricket, opportunities can be around the corner, you've just got to be ready.
"(Langer has) been telling our whole group they've got to be ready because you never know when your chance might come.
"That was the one thing in the back of my mind, be ready just in case. I've been preparing for the last four weeks, so I'm ready."
A side effect of Langer's rigorous training sessions meant Neser slept "like a baby" the night before his debut. His two sisters, Frances and Michelle, had flown in on the chance he would play, and were in the team huddle as Brad Haddin presented ODI cap No.225.
Michael Neser to make dream appearance for Australia in first ODI against England at The Oval: https://t.co/vgNNyXbBxx #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/oXV5ffVmdD— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) June 13, 2018
"I was really nervous the first ball but after that I was OK and just back to business and doing what I've been doing for a while now."
Neser can expect to take the new ball again in the second ODI, especially with towering quick Billy Stanlake under an injury cloud, and knows England are yet to see the best of him, particularly with the bat.
"I was pretty disappointed in the way I batted the other night, because I know I'm better than that. It was a soft dismissal," he said of an innings of six from 14 balls, having skied a drive to mid-off.
"I definitely need to contribute with the bat at the back end of the one-day games.
"I know I can do it. Hopefully I don't need to and the top order whack them, but if required I can contribute at the end."
The Gold Coaster showed his power with the bat at Australia's practice session on Friday, flicking one monster shot from the net closest to the pavilion to the far side of the ground. It went some 90m, and a similar distance straight down the ground will deposit the ball into the drink.
Langer is well aware of Neser's six-hitting ability. He was coach of Western Australia when the Queenslander hit seven of them – as well as eight fours – in a stunning one-day cup century that sparked a superb season for him.
His performances in Australian domestic cricket have given him the belief he has the skills to make an impact on the international stage.
"It's still the same game. Our competition is the one of the best going around and it does prepare you for international cricket," he said.
"Hopefully all the games I've played prior to this through the Big Bash, Sheffield Shield, our one-day competition has made me ready.
"I've just got to perform now and hold my nerve."
The second England v Australia game is live on Channel Nine from 8pm.
Qantas tours of England and Zimbabwe
ODI squad: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (injured), David Willey, Chris Woakes (injured), Mark Wood
T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth
Qantas Tour of England
June 13: First ODI, England beat Australia by three wickets
June 16: Second ODI, Cardiff
June 19: Third ODI, Trent Bridge (D/N)
June 21: Fourth ODI, Durham (D/N)
June 24: Fifth ODI, Old Trafford
June 27: Only T20, Edgbaston (D/N)
Qantas T20I tri-series Tour of Zimbabwe
July 1: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 2: Pakistan vs Australia
July 3: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 4: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan
July 5: Pakistan vs Australia
July 6: Australia vs Zimbabwe
July 8: Final