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Nathan Ellis' rise to Australia still sinking in: 'Doesn't feel real to be honest'

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 29 November 2021 02:09

It's been a whirlwind few months for Nathan Ellis and he is still trying to take it all in. A late call-up to Australia's tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh culminated in a debut hat-trick, then came a stint with Punjab Kings in the IPL this season and a spot as a travelling reserve for the T20 World Cup.

He will shortly start another BBL season with Hobart Hurricanes - the competition that has helped make his name - and he admitted it feels different to now have an "Australia cricketer" among his credentials.

"Even just hearing you say that it doesn't sound like it's right, doesn't feel real, to be honest," Ellis told ESPNcricinfo. "It was a dream come true…to hear you say Australian cricketer it's a really proud thing.

"I didn't expect to be on the Caribbean and Bangladesh tours. Then, to get a game at the back end and have the luck I did, I was really content and stoked with that. But then to get the call-up to the World Cup was a dream, rubbing shoulders with the biggest stars we have in the Australian cricket set-up, going onto win it, it's an experience I'll never forget."

The actual volume of cricket Ellis has played during that period has been limited: two matches in Bangladesh and three games for Kings in the IPL. But he believes he has put his time to good use and, having initially begun by focusing on the death bowling he is most renowned for, has worked to widen his game.

"Would be remiss of me not to talk to all the players and get as much out of it as I can. I feel like I've done that. I haven't played that much cricket, but just the experiences in the nets and talking to those guys, and even watching them in tough situations, I feel like it can only do me good.

"Initially, I tried to hone those skills and grow that death bowling skillset, but I've also done a lot of new-ball bowling in the powerplay, and as a T20 bowler, you need to keep trying to evolve. My role is the tough overs, so I tried to bowl a lot with the new ball."

Having a ringside seat at one World Cup triumph, Ellis now has sights set on remaining in the T20 set-up with an eye on next year's home tournament. While for now, the shortest format appears the likeliest route to higher honours his domestic numbers - a first-class average of 25.11 and one-day average of 23.75 - suggest he has the potential to expand.

"In the short term, we've just had a T20 World Cup, and we have another one next year, then a one-day World Cup following that, so there's a lot of white-ball cricket coming up," he said. "Naturally, I'd love to play for Australia in all formats, but at the moment, my opportunity is in the T20 set-up, so I'll do everything I can to stay in the mix.

"Winning this World Cup was amazing, but the possibility of going back-to-back in front of home fans is mouthwatering."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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