Cricket

India vs Australia: Ashton Turner showed why he is an able No 6 option for visitors in 2019 World Cup after Mohali heroics

  • Gaurav Joshi
  • March 11th, 2019
  • 15:39:26 IST

At the post-match press conference Shikhar Dhawan referred to him as ‘that guy'. Yes,' that guy' who clobbered 84 from 43 balls in just his second ODI to lead Australia to its highest run-chase in India. That guy who prospered against the death bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah under immense pressure. That guy whom Justin Langer labeled as one of the best finishers in Australian cricket. That guy whom Langer believes is one of the finest runners between wickets he has ever seen. That guy is Ashton Turner and he is a genuine finisher.

Turner arrived at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Sunday ready to fulfill his duties as the 12th man, only to be told moments before the toss that Marcus Stoinis had hurt his hand and he will be drafted in the playing XI. The loss of Stoinis meant the Australian middle-order looked even more fragile, but in space of one hour Turner showcased to the world why he is rated so highly in the Australian cricketing circles.

Australia's Ashton Turner bats during the first one-day international cricket match between India and Australia in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

Ashton Turner smashed a 43-ball 84 to make his case stronger for selection in World Cup squad.

For those who have watched the Big Bash in the last couple of seasons would be accustomed to Turner's finishing skills. But it is simply not his touch with willow that has Langer comparing him to some of the past greats in the ODI arena.

Asked about Turner's selection in the 50-over setup, Langer had said, "I remember when Michael Hussey came into the Australian team the thing that got him in was his running between the wickets. Now that might sound like the dumbest thing you've heard but you watch Ashton Turner run between the wickets and he is unbelievable. He is such a great athlete, it puts so much pressure (on the opposition)."

Turner executed all those traits to perfection on Sunday as he remained calmed and composed to level the series at 2-2. It was a remarkable performance by a player just in his second game of international cricket and that too against one of the formidable bowling units in the world.

The 26-year-old from the Freemantle Club in South Eastern suburbs of Perth has always been touted as an exceptional cricketer from a young age. He was part of the Australian U-19 team that was runners-up to India in 2012. During those early years, Tuner was more known for his exploits as an off-spinner who could be handy with the bat. But over the past few years, a niggling shoulder injury has prevented him from bowling and focusing solely on his batting.

Playing under Langer for the Perth Scorchers, Turner started to bat higher in the order and took the responsibility of orchestrating the run-chases. Turner thrived on it and Langer motivated him. With all the backing, the Scorchers won two Big Bash titles. In space of a couple of seasons, Turner had gone from a versatile No 7 to a frontline middle-order batsmen the Scorchers relied on heavily. On numerous occasions, he had devised a master plan to run down totals in the T20 format. His tactics based were around running hard between wickets, avoiding dot balls and picking the right ball to hit.

"You see the way he finishes off the innings that he's a good thinker of the game and like most of the great finishers and a really good leader, good person around the group," Langer had said about him.

Despite all the injuries and his inability to bowl and throw from a long distance, Turner still felt he could be a prized commodity for an IPL team. After being rejected in the IPL auction last year, he finally received good news in January when the Rajasthan Royals signed him up.

"I've made myself available to play, albeit in a restricted capacity, but I feel I'm batting well enough to justify selection in these white-ball teams," Turner told reporters in Perth.

Turner's sublime knock in the fourth ODI further illustrated his capabilities as a No 6 that can change the course of the match in space of a few balls. Six months ago, nobody apart from Justin Langer would have felt that Turner could feature at the World Cup. Now, Turner has put up his hand to be a permanent starter and also put pressure on the likes of Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.

Historically, Australia has always been blessed with game breakers at the No 6 spot during their successful World Cup campaigns. In 1999, there was Michael Bevan, in 2003 there was Andrew Symonds, in 2007 there was Hussey and in 2015, there was Glenn Maxwell. Ashton Turner could well be Australia's man at the 2019 World Cup.

Updated Date: March 11, 2019 15:39:26 IST

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