Cameron Green, the 21-year-old allrounder from Western Australia, is set to make his Australia debut at the Adelaide Oval. It is one of the more anticipated first appearances in recent times. So here’s a bit about him.
What’s his career been like so far?
In first-class cricket, outstanding. He has five centuries in 21 matches, including a career-best 197 earlier this season against New South Wales, the most recent of them was against the Indians last week – and he holds a batting average of 55.04. It was a game against Queensland at the Gabba in November 2019 where he showed what he could achieve with the bat, making 87 and 121 not out batting at Nos. 8 and 9. That was also the last game he bowled in for a year. With the ball (and more on that in a minute) he averages 21.72 for his 33 wickets which include 5 for 24 on his first-class debut against Tasmania, who he also took his career-best 6 for 30 against in 2018. His white-ball career doesn’t stand out quite so much, although he made his ODI debut a couple of weeks ago, however that’s from just a handful of matches – nine in both List A and T20. It is with the red (and pink) ball that he is getting everyone really excited at the moment.
So there are some big expectations?
You could say that. Greg Chappell has called him the “best since Ricky Ponting” in recent interviews and back in June (when there was no cricket) ESPNcricinfo put together the scenario of Australia playing both Tests and T20Is on the same day – which could happen next year – Chappell picked him at No. 6 in the Test side straightaway.
“To me, Cameron Green is the next superstar of Australian cricket,” he said. “He is a genuine prospect with bat and ball, but I think his future is as a batsman who can offer some quality overs. Cameron is a batsman of rare talent. At 6ft 7in, he could become something very special. I would bat him at No. 6 to start with, but I reckon No. 4 is his long-term position. The sooner he gets to play at this level, the sooner he will become the player that he should be.”
What about the recent injury scare?
That looked a bad moment when he was struck on the side of the head by a drive from Jasprit Bumrah at the SCG. He immediately went off the field and was subbed out of the match with concussion and also went for scans which cleared him of any fracture. Fortunately, the blow has not done major damage (unlike Will Pucovski, Green doesn’t have a history of concussion) and it looks as though he will pass all the Cricket Australia protocols to be able to debut.
So is he the allrounder Australia have dreamed of?
Maybe, but with a bit of caution. That’s got nothing to do with the talent, but he has been on restricted bowling loads due to a back stress fracture he suffered last year. He has undergone some work on his action with the WA bowling coach Matt Mason and has so far been limited to four-over spells. This season he has not bowled more than eight overs in a day in match conditions. However, he’s still shown the knack of picking up wickets: he claimed two in the second innings against the Indians at Drummoyne Oval and produced a beauty to remove Shubman Gill before his injury at the SCG.
Tim Paine also suggested the bowling restrictions will be loosened. “I’ll think he’ll bowl a few more than that, once you are selected in a Test match you are good to go. Having said that we don’t expect him to bowl a huge amount of overs with the attack we’ve got.”
Has his debut come sooner than expected?
In some ways, yes. In fact, just a matter of weeks ago it felt unlikely he would make the XI at the start of the series despite being named in the enlarged squad. The favoured route was that Australia would retain their traditional balance of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper and four bowlers. However, recently plans have been thrown into chaos due to injuries to Warner and Pucovksi which has led Australia to reshuffling the batting order (for one Test at least) and that has created the opening at No. 6. That is not to say Green is not deserving. On current form you could easily say he’s among the best six batsmen in Australia with Justin Langer and national selector Trevor Hohns having said he is worthy of selection for his batting alone.