Batting dynamo buzz hits T20 World Cup

Australia & Namibia Net Sessions - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
Australia coach Andrew McDonald is excited about the future of the T20 team. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The Australian coaching staff is already preparing for the future even with eyes focused on winning the T20 World Cup, using the tournament to “connect” with batting dynamo Jake Fraser-McGurk who looms as the man to replace David Warner.

Fraser-McGurk is in the Caribbean as a reserve player, along with fellow powerhouse batter Matt Short, and batting coach Michael Di Venuto is spending time with the 22-year-old who head coach Andrew McDonald said was part of an “exciting future” for Australia’s white-ball teams.

Warner will end his international career after the T20 World Cup and others, including the likes of Matthew Wade, are “closer to the end”, with the tournament likely to be their last.

Fraser-McGurk, who was “unlucky” to miss the 15-man squad after blitzing the IPL, should slot straight into Warner’s opening spot and is being “immersed” into the team’s environment amid heightened interest.

“A little interest is probably an understatement. A lot of interest leading into the tournament,” McDonald said ahead of Australia’s third pool game against Namibia on Wednesday.

“High-quality players, unlucky not to be included in the 15, but great to have them here to soak it up, to be around the group. Matty Short’s had a bit more time around the group, so he’s a bit more familiar to us. But the ability for us as coaches to connect with Jake and for him to immerse himself in a World Cup, I think is going to be hugely beneficial going forward, even if he wasn’t to play a part going through the back end.”

McGurk was not only getting help from De Venuto in the nets but also Glenn Maxwell in a sign of how much he and the next generation of players have been and will be embraced by the current group gunning to hold all three major ICC trophies at once.

“First and foremost it’s really Michael De Venuto working with Jake to get an understanding of how he goes about it,” McDonald said.

“A lot of the hard yards are done by him. Anyone that’s at training and watches him get to work and connect with the batters, it’s a power of work, so his ability over the next few weeks to connect with him … he’s a player going forward for Australian cricket.

“Clearly, we’ve got some players that are closer to the end. Over the past 12 months I’ve been really excited by the gaps that have been created, sometimes by design, with other key series and the opportunity those younger players have had. It feels like we’ve got a lot more depth than people perceived 12 months ago and Jake’s really a part of that, Matthew Short’s a part of that, Spencer Johnson, Xavier Bartlett.

“So, it’s exciting for what the future looks like, but I suppose we’re focused on the present at the moment.”

Australia will secure progression to the Super 8 element of the World Cup with a win over Namibia, and McDonald said he would play his strongest team to ensure that happens.