Pakistan's Tour of Australia - Men's
'I didn't think I was deserving of the spot': Maddinson
He might not have been ready for his Test debut three summers ago, but the prolific left-hander is confident he's now better equipped if the call comes again
30 October 2019, 09:47 PM AEST
Nic Maddinson can't hide the fact he's got one eye on a Test recall after earning a prized spot in the Australia A side to play Pakistan next month, candidly admitting he wasn't ready for and may not have been deserving of his initial foray into the top flight.
Maddinson's blistering start to his career in Victoria since crossing from New South Wales in 2017 has put him in the frame for a return to the Test side, with selectors this week picking the 27-year-old to play in a three-day tour match under lights at Perth Stadium from November 11.
The call-up came as such a shock that when selector Trevor Hohns called with the good news of a recall, Maddinson had to sheepishly ask where, when and against whom he would be playing, completely unaware that the match had even been scheduled.
With at least two spots in the Test top six up for grabs ahead of next month's Domain series opener against Pakistan at the Gabba, Maddinson could put an irresistible case to selectors if he can replicate his prolific Marsh Sheffield Shield form against international opposition.
In seven games for Victoria over the past two seasons, he's hit four hundreds, including a career-best 224 in their Shield season-opener earlier this month, for a total of 861 runs at 86.
"It’s hard sometimes to not think a little bit further ahead. I think people probably lie when they say they don’t. I definitely have," Maddinson told SEN's Whateley program on Wednesday ahead of Victoria's four-day game against Tasmania in Hobart.
"Not just the past week, even the past six months or even before that. When you’re doing well you sort of have an eye on the future and where you want to end up as a goal.
"It is about scoring runs at the right time and being in the right place at the right time and when it presents yourself you've got to grab it. That's what I didn't do the last time I had the opportunity in the national team (in 2016).
"I've had to go away (and find) a really good method and game plan that works for me now in four-day cricket. I've just been implementing that.
"Just because you're in the in Australia A team doesn't mean you're automatically a Test selection. But to be involved in that group of players and on the list of batters they possibly could be looking at, that's something I'm pretty proud of."
Maddinson's versatility could work in his favour at the selection table; he batted in the middle order in his three Tests during the 2016-17 summer but has thrived as an opener in Victoria.
Regular openers Marcus Harris and Joe Burns, along with Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Will Pucovski and Maddinson have all been picked in the 'A' squad and all are in contention to play at the Gabba in the first Test.
Maddinson was whisked into the Test side in a period of upheaval following five consecutive defeats in late 2016, but failed to pass 22 in four innings batting at No.6 against South Africa and Pakistan.
The left-hander concedes now that his opportunity might have come too soon.
"At times I didn't think I was deserving of the spot in the first place - I’d only scored one Shield hundred that season," admitted Maddinson, who spent time with Australian Football League side Collingwood over the winter observing their game preparation and review programs.
"It wasn't something I ever really expected, but I don't think I was treated unfairly (to be dropped) at all. I had some pretty good opportunities.
"It was a challenging time. I learnt a lot from the experience.
"Compared to what I know about cricket now about my own batting at the moment, I don't think I had much of an idea what I was doing or much direction on how I wanted to play.
"I wasn't really confident in my game at that level – not even state cricket at that time.
"That's something that’s improved, being a bit older, having a few challenges along the way… I just think I wasn’t ready for that opportunity.
"I feel like I’m at a stage now where if the opportunity happened again I would … have the tools to deal with everything that goes with it."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: TBC
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)