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Ben McDermott 'more ready than ever to play for Australia'

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 24 January 2022 22:11

Ben McDermott feels better placed to take on the challenges of international cricket after his prolific BBL season, and admitted that his earlier spells with Australia were difficult experiences.

McDermott earned a recall for the T20I series against Sri Lanka next month on the back of 577 runs for Hobart Hurricanes and it comes just a few months on from being overlooked for the T20 World Cup after struggling in West Indies and Bangladesh. Those two tours were not easy for McDermott, who twice picked up injures and missed the birth of his first child, and he currently averages 13.66 from 17 T20Is, but is now one of the frontrunners to replace the rested David Warner at the top of the order alongside captain Aaron Finch.

"I've had a lot of experience through maybe [being selected] prematurely; I don't think I wasn't ready to play for Australia but I do feel ready now," he said after being named the BBL Player of the Tournament. "I feel like I'm on top of my game whereas in previous years I have sort of been in and out through player bans, Covid, all that sort of stuff, that's how I've got my opportunities.

"I feel like I'm more ready than ever to play for Australia and I've developed a lot of learnings through those experiences. They haven't been good ones, I won't shy away from that, but definitely learnt and come back better."

The lean tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh put paid to his chances of being in the World Cup squad but he has come to see that as a benefit. It allowed him to play domestic cricket for Tasmania before the BBL, although his Hurricanes campaign did have a delayed start after he edged a delivery into his groin during training and required surgery on a ruptured testicle.
"It's always tough to miss out on squads but nice to be playing domestic cricket instead of running the drinks"
Ben McDermott on missing out on the last T20 World Cup

"In a way I was glad I was left out because you saw with a player like Josh Inglis, who took my spot, he went over there and didn't play a game and missed a lot of the domestic cricket," McDermott said. "I was very disappointed when I heard I wasn't going to be part of that squad, that would have been awesome to experience, but at the same time, think I developed a lot this summer and through that West Indies and Bangladesh series.

"It's always tough to miss out on squads but nice to be playing domestic cricket instead of running the drinks."

His Hurricanes team-mate Matthew Wade remains the incumbent wicketkeeper in Australia's T20I plans - despite McDermott having the gloves in the BBL - and while Inglis is ahead of him in the pecking order when time comes for a change, it is a role he is eager to keep improving.

"It doesn't hurt you to have that extra string to the bow," he said. "I've been working hard at it, I really enjoy wicketkeeping when I do get the opportunity. I'll definitely be working hard on it and keep doing it for the Hurricanes if I get the opportunity."

He is also hoping that his BBL success will attract interest at the IPL mega auction coming up on February 12 and 13. "If I don't get picked up this year not sure when I will," he said. "There's not too much I can do now, it's all up to those people in charge."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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