There couldn’t be better time than now for young Australians to script their own history. In a side where often competing for a regular space is more onerous a challenge than going the long distance, Australia’s successes have often been scripted by the alacrity of its youth. The yesteryear’s belonged to the spark of young leaders- Waugh, Ponting, Clarke and, today, swamped in an important transitionary phase, looking for stable heads, Australia belongs to the Steve Smith. Moreover, the side is often overly reliant on Smith and Warner to do the bulk of scoring. In these times, Matt Renshaw’s return lends an important balance to the structure of the side’s make-up; splitting the exuberance of youth and the presence of experienced heads with efficacy.
There’s little irony, then, that at the time of perhaps modern Australian Cricket’s greatest travesty that has resulted after Smith, Warner and Bancroft are being deported back to home ports, it’s none other than Matt Renshaw, among others, who’s set to fill in a contest that, for the lack of better word, is all to play for. Especially from a dual perspective- where battling for Australia’s pride is just as important as for a somewhat depleted side to not crack under pressure.
Renshaw- a bloke minus the flamboyance but one with a glow of an aura of quiet surety seems cut out for the 5-day format. He brings to the side the kind of imperturbable quality that is required from a modern batsman.
No flamboyance but enough resolve
At 22, you surely may not possibly draw a world of experience from Matt Renshaw. But from the little he has demonstrated from the 10 Tests he’s played, it seems, Australia shouldn’t be worrying where the future of their 5-day contest lies. Specifically from the cornerstone of frontline batting. Tall, dandy, extremely fit and renowned for a proclivity for hard-work, Renshaw is a gentle throwback to the years of dogged Test batsmanship.
He might not seem like a flair player. His game doesn’t have the magnetic charm of slam-bang power batting that his namesake, the other big Matt; Hayden brought to the crease. He seems more settled and unhurried, less reliant on free expression and more on technique. It’s a fitting reminder of the stability and perseverance that blokes like Justin Langer and Damien Martyn brought to the crease.
You may not be able to immediately identify bowler-crushing aspects from Renshaw’s watchful, cautious game. But there seems to be a very pleasant studiousness about Renshaw’s game that makes him seem like he’s got the head to wear the overwhelming responsibility of wearing the “Baggy Green”. And he demonstrated plenty of this in his personal best of 184 against Pakistan where batting first on a plush Sydney wicket, Renshaw opened with Warner and stuck his head out till the fall of the 4th wicket came about. By then, Australia’s score had reached 386 and Renshaw had departed after striking 20 boundaries, in contributing a doggedly beautiful 184.
Making heads turn in sub-continent
More often than not, the success for Australians is measured by their adaptability to score on slower, spinner-friendly wickets, particularly the kinds one finds in the sub-continent. Renshaw was up to the task on his maiden tour to India when he struck two gritty fifties, both on rank-turners. But it was the slightly controversial outing at Pune- that even though yielded in 68 well-compiled runs- that catapulted Renshaw to the headlines, maybe not for his tenacity despite not being in the pink of health but for the rather controversial stand of retiring to relieve himself from a stomach ailment.
But all said, in blokes like Renshaw, Cowan, Burns, lay Australia’s hopes to a potent, capable outfit, a vehicle that can churn massive showings at the international level without stooping to vile ways of being; a subject of immense incredulity that currently surrounds their fans right now.
Renshaw’s short Test Career