We always need motivation to pursue our dreams and more so when the path to achieving those dreams is a less travelled one. So, we look for stories of self-improvement, stories of struggle and stories where people defy all odds to achieve what they want, to serve as our source of motivation that in turn help us in pursuing our dreams. Western Australia all-rounder D’Arcy Short’s story is one such that stand out.
Not many people were familiar with the name of D’Arcy Short a couple of years back. Although he has been there in the Australian domestic cricket circuit since 2011, it was only during the last season of T20 Big Bash League (BBL) that he got some recognition playing for the Hobart Hurricanes. And all thanks to a superb BBL this season with the bat, in which his latest exploit has been a scintillating knock of 122 off 69 deliveries against the Brisbane Heat, that he is finally in contention to represent Australia in future.
It took Short quite a long time to reach where he is today. But, now that he is here, he is making it count every time he takes the field.
The story of Short coming through a junior system in the Northern Territory and leaving the place at a young age of 19 to become what he is today is quite something. And if that is not enough, he disappeared from the domestic scene for few years and then shed a jaw-dropping 15kgs to take his career back on track is also something that serves as a source of inspiration.
Western Australia coach Justin Langer had a big hand in getting Short back up to the fitness levels of modern day players. Langer remembers the conversation as, “Everyone has been telling me you are a fat kid from Gosnells, you are lazy and have a mediocre work ethic." Langer suggested Short to, "find some discipline, come to training and do the right things, we will see if we can give you a go."
It took Short a period of one year between 2015 and 2016 to lose his excess weight and be back in shape. “It was biting the bullet and knowing that I had to work hard to get my fitness up, which wasn’t always where it should have been. Basically realizing if I didn’t do it I wouldn’t make it. I wouldn’t say it was an overnight thing but it happened quickly,” Short told Foxsports.com.au last summer.
Although late, he finally made it to the top tier of country's domestic cricket having played his first Sheffield Shield match in the 2016-17 season for Western Australia. Even in the 2017-18 Sheffield season he was primarily selected as a spinner for Western Australia and even batted at number nine.
However, that hasn’t stopped him from doing what he has done so far in the ongoing edition of the Big Bash League.
He showed his power-hitting talent, smacking a whirlwind 61 runs off just 29 deliveries on debut for the Hobart Hurricanes last season, before capping it off with another fifty towards the end of the tournament. However, he proved to be pretty inconsistent as he threw away starts on most occasions.
But, he has been a revelation in this season. He has kicked on to get big scores and showed a lot of patience, temperament and a superb ability to pace the innings at his own sweet time. The consistency that he has shown has been remarkable. Putting a higher price on his wicket and a enjoying sense of responsibility have been the secrets behind his transformation.
“Putting a bit more pressure on myself and more emphasis on my wicket. Trying to bat longer and deeper into the 20 overs and trying to get us off to a good start,” Short said when asked about the secret of the sublime touch with the bat he is in this season as compared to the previous one.
He has amassed a total of 406 runs at 81.20 in just six games and that too at a strike rate of 159.84. His season's tally includes two scores of 90 plus and a scintillating knock of 122 off just 69 deliveries—the highest ever individual score in BBL history—and is just six runs short of eclipsing Shaun Marsh’s record tally of 412 runs for the Perth Scorchers back in 2012-13 campaign.
Hurricanes coach Gary Kirsten also deserves a lot of credit for Short's transformation. He is the one who pushed him hard to get those runs.
"Gary (Kirsten) just wanted me to try and bat longer in the innings and try and get us to a higher total. There’s a bit more onus on me, bit of pressure on me to bat further into the innings.
“He’s real good. He challenges you with trying to find different ways to score runs,” Short said about Kirsten.
Moreover, his slow left-arm wrist spin bowling has also been impressive during last couple of seasons of BBL and has been an effective weapon in the Hurricanes’ bowling arsenal. The 27-year old’s bowling has impressed even the legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne as well.
“Just switched on the tv & watching Darcy Short bowl left-arm leggies, very impressive. He looks like a cricketer that we will be seeing in Aussie colours shortly @juniorwaugh349,” Warne had tweeted.
Short's all-round abilities and his form with the bat put him in contention for a call-up into the Australian ODI squad for the series against England. There were murmurs that he might replace the injured Chris Lynn. It did make sense because Glenn Maxwell seems totally out of favor with the Australian selectors.
But Australian selectors picked Victoria veteran Cameron White as replacement for Lynn, mostly on the basis of his strong outing in the domestic one-day cricket and his form for the Melbourne Renegades in the BBL.
If Short had been selected in the ODI squad then it would've resembled David Warner’s entry into the ODI side. Warner was fast-tracked into the Australian ODI side on the basis of impressive T20 returns and sealed a permanent place with a blistering knock of 89 off just 43 deliveries on debut against South Africa.
National selector Mark Waugh also expressed similar thoughts on Wednesday during his commentary stint in a BBL game. "Could his career follow a similar path to David Warner? Who sort of came out of nowhere. Made his name in T20. Similar sort of player, isn’t he?"
Now that he's not included in the ODI squad, Short is one of the front runners to be selected for the T20I series against England and New Zealand.
With an Australian squad selection, what could come along is a big fat Indian Premier League (IPL) paycheck and a contract. Several IPL franchises have had Short on their radar for quite a while now. With the auctions scheduled to be held at the end of this month, franchises could end up in a fierce bidding battle for the southpaw.
His breed—a top-order batsman with left-arm wrist spin bowling —is a pretty rare one and could be an asset in T20 cricket. So, the franchises have every reason to go after him when the bidding wars start.
Whatever happens, Short's career now only looks bright and a long one. He has spent years in anonymity and now, it is high time for him to use his talent to full potential.