Justin Langer has revealed how a WhatsApp message out of the blue from a former club cricket opponent helped Perth Scorchers unearth yet another ready-made player in Tim David, whose assured debut saw their unbeaten KFC Big Bash League streak continue on New Year's Day.
The Scorchers' never-ending production line of local talent this time rolled out a made-to-order heavy-hitting allrounder, with David spanking two vital sixes to help the home side complete their highest-ever T20 run chase at the WACA.
Langer recounted how a rave review from a former Perth Premier Cricket opponent of his set the wheels in motion for David's dream debut, complete a cap presentation from WA and Australia legend Adam Gilchrist, against Sydney Sixers on Monday.
"A bloke sent me a WhatsApp 18 months ago from England," Langer explained after the Scorchers' six-wicket win.
"A guy who I played cricket against – Michael Fishwick his name is – he used to play for Melville. I wouldn’t have heard from him in 15 years.
"He (David) was playing in England and (Fishwick) goes, 'you've got to have a look at this kid Tim David …. he's whacking them out of the park.'
"I'd never heard of him before.
"So we kept an eye on him in our program and that's the sort of stuff we do.
"He had a few trial games, he got a couple of second XI hundreds and he can whack them. I'm really pleased for him."
After winning the Olly Cooley Medal as the best player in WA Premier Cricket last season, David has impressed in the Toyota Futures League and in recent tour matches for WA and the Scorchers against the England Lions.
The 21-year-old from Claremont-Nedlands Cricket Club immediately looked at home out in the middle, clearing the rope off his second ball before hitting another six with seven balls to spare to set up the last-over win.
David's is the kind of story that's become all too common for the BBL's most successful side.
The three-time champions are undefeated through four games and sit atop the BBL|07 ladder, a remarkable feat given a number of factors. They've lost four players to national duties they would have expected to be available for the early part of the season, they've filled just one of their two available overseas slots and their pace stocks been ravaged by injury.
They’ve blooded four debutants this season – more than any other club when international recruits are excluded – in David, Will Bosisto, Josh Inglis and Josh Phillippe and Langer said they came close to having a fourth against the Sixers, hinting that left-arm spinner Hayden Morton is a strong chance to play in the coming matches.
Australia fast bowlers Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff and Joel Paris, along with first-choice wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman, are all yet to play a game this BBL season due to injury while Shaun Marsh, Mitch Marsh and Cameron Bancroft have all been missing as well, having helped Australia regain the Ashes.
Spinner Ashton Agar was plucked from the Scorchers side after being drafted in for the Sydney Test, with his absence giving David his first match at senior domestic level.
Former Test batsman Brad Hodge caused a stir last week when he questioned how the Scorchers had managed to keep so many Western Australians on their books when cross-border movement between other BBL clubs is so common.
Hodge said “it's something that maybe should be looked into” and tweeted at Channel 10 commentator Adam Gilchrist when the Scorchers’ squad management was brought up on air during a match.
But Langer says the Scorchers have a simple formula for success.
"What we do is back our kids," he said. "We've said it for five years now, we're going to back our West Australian talent.
"We keep backing our kids and we trust them. We’ve had three played make their debut this season … they're all having a taste of it. They're having a taste of it in a winning team.
"We keep winning so they get it in their DNA that winning is a habit. One of the most important things about being successful, individually and collectively is knowing how to win.
"We nearly had two debutants tonight, there might be another one in the next couple of days."
While veterans like Michael Klinger, who struck a brilliant 61-ball 83 against the Sixers, former Test players Mitchell Johnson and Adam Voges along with Englishman David Willey remain key players for the Scorchers, their faith in young local talent has paid off handsomely.
The likes of Agar, Behrendorff (both originally recruited from interstate), Paris, Andrew Tye, Ashton Turner, Jhye Richardson and Hilton Cartwright have all gone from rookies to standout performers at domestic level and onto the national side on the back of success with the Scorchers and Western Australia in recent summers.
"We all play for each other, we're a family here, that's why we have quite a continuing squad from both (WA) and the Scorchers," Tye told cricket.com.au. "We like keeping it that way.
"The players choose to keep it that way and it's outstanding. It really helps knowing we can come into games like this – we trust each other, we believe in each other.
"We've got a history here at the Scorchers of unearthing great talent. Tim has shown us in a couple of practice games against England Lions that he can do it at this level.
"I'm so happy for him to help get the team over the line."
David said having wise heads like Klinger make slotting into the side that much easier.
"To come in and be able to help the team win a game like that … was pretty awesome," he told cricket.com.au.
"We've had a few injuries, a few blokes go down and then had three guys in the Test side who are doing really well. We've been a bit light on.
"'Maxy' (Klinger) just made it really simple for me. We're really lucky to have guys like that around who make it easier for the younger guys."