Former Netherlands hitter and longtime mentor Michael Swart gave some advice on hitting the UAE
Josh Inglis is on a journey into uncharted territory. He never played for Australia. He never even toured with Australia. He has never played cricket in the United Arab Emirates, and the extent of his experience on the subcontinent is a few short tours of India with the Australian National Performance Team, for emerging players there are a few years.
Inglis hasn’t even had the chance to mingle with fellow Aussie players and coaches to get a glimpse of what’s to come yet, after being confined to his hotel room for six days in quarantine after taking the flight to Abu Dhabi from Perth.
But Inglis has a man in his corner who already made sure he wasn’t flying completely blind.
Former Netherlands and Western Australian batsman Michael Swart was a key mentor to Inglis’ youth as he made a name for himself in Perth cricket for Joondalup.
Swart played in the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, opening the baton in England’s notorious humiliation, and played 9 of his 26 T20 internationals in the United Arab Emirates.
Inglis got a call from his former captain in Joondalup last week and received some valuable information.
“Obviously he played a lot of cricket for the Netherlands and played under those conditions, so he explained quite a bit about the wickets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and what they looked like,” said Inglis. “So it’s good to have him as a sounding board and a mentor as well, so that’s been great.”
Swart told ESPNcricinfo that he simply relayed his specific experiences at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Stadium.
“As you saw recently in the IPL, the game slows down a lot after the power play,” Swart said. “I just let him know that the first six overs is the time to really concede, but after that the wicket slows down a lot and it’s very difficult to come down from the wicket to the spinners and his sweeping strokes are so important to come down. hitting and manipulating the pitch. It’s easy to get stuck on one end out there and the sweeping shot is so vital to getting off the strike. “
Swart, 13 years older than Inglis, had a big impact on the 26-year-old at Joondalup. Inglis had a prolific summer at 21 under Swart, scoring 1,137 freshman points and four centuries including 246 in the final to secure the title to Joondalup. This landed him a contract with Justin Langer’s Western Australia team.
Although Inglis has barely hit in the middle order during his T20 career – only 13 of his 57 professional innings have been at bat at No.4 or less – he has been added to the Cup squad. world of Australia due to his mastery of spinning in the middle. having caught the attention of Ricky Ponting among others during the BBL last season.
Despite his limited exposure at the professional level, he hit a lot in the middle order for Joondalup in white ball cricket, forming a formidable partnership with Swart when he hit with five men outside the circle. It was an experience that Inglis said was incredibly valuable.
“I just remember the times when we would play quality cricket together and there were situations where we just really needed to take a little pressure off and he was really, really smart and thought very clearly about situations and that was. nice to be able to have him at the other end as a young kid, starting out, ”said Inglis.“ It’s been brilliant for my playing in that kind of sense. Not so much on a technical level, but more in terms of the situations and the state of mind and that sort of thing. “
Inglis seems unlikely to start the World Cup as Matthew Wade is Australia’s premier wicket keeper. Wade is preparing to beat in the middle order and Australia managers consider him essential due to a lack of lefties in the top seven.
But it’s possible that Inglis could play the role of a batting specialist on the side, or if Australia ran aground early in the tournament against a spin in the middle. Swart believes he has what it takes to dominate internationally.
“I think the most important thing is that he’s supporting himself and his game,” Swart said. “He’s one of the hardest workers and because of the work he has done he has incredible confidence in his abilities. He’s always been the type to face tough situations rather than run away. is someone with 100% confidence and zero per cent arrogance.
“I think he has a great future in international cricket. His greatest asset is that he hits the ball 360 degrees and has a great sweep and reverse sweep game. I think that goes there. ” help get out of pressure situations after the power play.
“Overall he’s the ultimate pro and someone you want to play with. Last week he was at club cricket throwing balls at kids. He’s the kind of guy he is. Really. I can’t wait for him to show the world stage what we’ve known for years. It’s a gun.
Alex Malcolm is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo