A first-class serve with an average of 55 and a bowling average of 21: the all-rounder from Western Australia has the characteristics of an exceptional cricketer
Cameron Green, the 21-year-old handyman from Western Australia, will make his Australian debut at the Adelaide Oval. It is one of the most anticipated first appearances in recent times. So here’s a little bit of him.
How has your career been so far?
In first-class cricket, exceptional. He has had five centuries in 21 games, including his career best 197 earlier this season against New South Wales, the last of which was against Indians last week – and holds a batting average of 55.04. It was a game against Queensland at the Gabba in November 2019 where he showed what he could achieve with the bat, making 87 and 121 not beating the nos. 8 and 9. That was also the last game he played for a year. With the ball (and more on that in a minute) he averages 21.72 for his 33 wickets which include 5 out of 24 on his first class debut against Tasmania, who also scored his best 6 for 30 in career versus in 2018. His white -ball career doesn’t stand out that much, although he made his ODI debut a couple of weeks ago, however it’s only a handful of matches – nine in both A-list and T20 . It is with the red (and pink) ball that is exciting everyone right now.
So are there any high expectations?
You could say that. Greg Chappell called him the “best since Ricky Ponting” in recent interviews and in June (when there was no cricket) ESPNcricinfo put together the scenario of Australia playing both tests and T20Is on the same day – which it could happen next year – Chappell picked it right away at number 6 on the Test side.
“For me, Cameron Green is Australia’s next cricket superstar,” he said. “He’s a real prospect with the bat and the ball, but I think his future is as a hitter who can deliver some quality overs. Cameron is a rare talented hitter. At 6 feet 7 inches, he could become something a lot. special. to number 6 to begin with, but I believe number 4 is his long-term position. The sooner he can play at this level, the sooner he will become the player he should be. “
What about the recent injury scare?
That seemed like a bad moment when he was hit in the side of the head by a Jasprit Bumrah drive at the SCG. He immediately walked off the pitch and was ejected from the match for concussion and also went for scans which cleared him of any fracture. Luckily the shot didn’t do much damage (unlike Will Pucovski, Green has no history of concussion) and it looks like he’ll pass all Cricket Australia protocols to make his debut.
So is he the all-rounder Australia has dreamed of?
Maybe, but with a little caution. This has nothing to do with talent, but has been on limited bowling loads due to a back stress fracture he sustained last year. He has undergone some work on his action with WA bowling coach Matt Mason and has so far been limited to four over spells. This season he has not pitched more than eight overs in one day in match conditions. However, he still showed the knack of picking up wickets – he claimed two in the second inning against the Indians at the Drummoyne Oval and produced a beauty to remove Shubman Gill before his injury at the SCG.
Tim Paine also suggested that the restrictions on bowling will be relaxed. “I think he will pull a little more, once you are selected in a Test match you are good to go. That said we don’t expect him to make too many overs with the attack we ‘have.”
Did your debut come sooner than expected?
In a certain way, yes. In fact, just a few weeks ago it seemed unlikely he would make XI early in the series despite being named to the extended squad. The preferred course was that Australia would keep the traditional balance of six batters, one wicketkeeper and four bowlers. However, plans have recently been thrown into chaos due to injuries to Warner and Pucovksi which resulted in Australia reshuffling the batting order (at least for a test) and which created the opening at No. 6. This does not mean that Green is undeserving. At present it could easily be said that he is in the top six hitters in Australia with Justin Langer and national selector Trevor Hohns saying he is worthy of selection for his batting alone.
Andrew McGlashan is Deputy Director of ESPNcricinfo