Jason Behrendorff: Australia’s secret weapon
Updated: Jun 15, 2019
The towering left-arm bowler is an unknown entity and with his brisk pace and disconcerting bounce could be the ace up the kangaroos’ sleeve.
Australia has always been blessed with quality left-armers to complement their formidable arsenal of right-handed fast men. Whether it was Gary Gilmour in the 70s, Bruce Reid and Mike Whitney is the ‘80s and 90s or Nathan Bracken, James Faulkner and Mitchell Starc in recent years, there has never been a dearth of Australian pacemen to challenge opposition right-handed batsmen with either the angle going across them or with the ball swinging back into them, or in some cases both.
The latest to be added to that ever-growing list is the towering Western Australian Jason Behrendorff. Although the Sydney born player hasn’t played many internationals, he has made quite an impression in the few that he has. He’s also been a key-force behind Perth Scorchers’ multiple Big Bash titles; being the highest wicket-taker in the tournament on more than one occasion. He has taken 7 wickets in the 6 ODI matches that he’s played in, with a great economy rate of 5.33 in these days of big hitters and even bigger bats. His average is definitely on the higher side at 41.42 and his best bowling figures might not send shivers down batsmen’s spine at 3 for 63. But where he does impress is the steep bounce he’s able to extract from even the flattest of pitches as he has shown against India in the few matches he played against them. He has troubled batsmen of the caliber of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma on the dead pitches of India. Add to that his ability to swing the new ball at decent pace and the natural angle of a left arm seamer, and you have a pretty threatening proposition for opposition batsmen.
Most teams are stacked with right-handed batsmen (except The West Indies) interspersed with left-handers, and no batsman likes facing balls coming across them or the ball swinging back into them from outside off-stump. Australia already have that threat in their ranks in the player of the last tournament- Mitchell Starc, but to add Behrendorff into the mix will give the Australians the much needed teeth their attack seems to be lacking thus far. While Nathan Coulter-Nile provides depth to the batting order as he showed in the previous match against the Windies, when he rescued the innings in the company of Steve Smith, he’s gone wicketless in the two matches so far.
Skipper Aaron Finch has been pondering as to what tactics could be employed to stop the run-fest that has occurred from time to time in this year’s edition. The answer could well be Behrendorff. Also considering that he’s rather an unknown entity at international level (some international players would have faced him in franchise cricket), most teams may struggle to contend with the threat he offers. Even though in these days of video analysis, where the surprise element is all but taken out of the equation, facing a bowler in the middle that you haven’t played much or at all is a whole different proposition. And this is where Australia has an ace up their sleeve in the Canberra raised paceman. He may not have played in the first two matches, but considering that the next match for the Men in Green and Gold is against The Men In Blue (the Indians, against whom he has done well), it maybe the right time for the Aussies to get him into the tournament. He could well be the missing link to the defending champions’ attack. It is time to unleash Jason Behrendorff!