From Test plodder to T20 dynamo
MATT Renshaw has decided to have a proper crack at Twenty20 cricket after emerging as a bolter for Australia's World Cup campaign this year.
Renshaw is one of the hottest middle-order batsmen in this summer's Big Bash League following a sizzling start to the tournament.
The Brisbane Heat's No.4 has scored 125 runs at 62.5 heading into Wednesday's New Year's Day clash against Perth at Metricon Stadium.
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Renshaw, 23, burst on to the international scene in 2016 when he was picked for Australia's Test side as a cautious opener.
He made 11 Test appearances for Australia, scoring one century and three fifties, but hasn't been sighted in the baggy green since being flown to South Africa in March, 2018, as a replacement during the ball-tampering scandal.
Renshaw was criticised at times during his Test career for scoring too slowly, boasting a strike rate of 42.48.
But he has shown an array of shots to score at 134.4 for the Heat this summer and whacked five sixes across three impressive innings, the last being a perfectly composed unbeaten 60.
Australia will host the ICC T20 World Cup in October-November this year and Renshaw said he wanted to prove he was a genuine white-ball player.
"I've found my niche in T20 cricket coming in the middle order," he said.
"It's good, it's a bit different to the red ball grind. It's nice I've put a few performances on the board.
"It's a bit far out for that goal (World Cup) - the T20 side is pretty settled at the moment.
"You never know what will happen if you score a few runs. That's the beauty of cricket."
The Heat experimented with Renshaw last summer but new coach Darren Lehmann has given the talented left-hander a clear role in the middle order.
If the Heat get off to a sizzling start from top order trio Tom Banton, Max Bryant and Chris Lynn, then Renshaw's job is to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
If they are two-for-not-many, Renshaw can play a stabilising role to help the Heat post a competitive total or pace their run chase.
Renshaw had a slow start to the Sheffield Shield this summer, scoring only 182 runs at 20.22 in 10 innings despite facing 452 balls. His top score in five matches was 36.
But he has relished the carefree nature of T20 cricket and his performances are thriving.
"I was getting lots of starts (in the Shield) and facing a lot of balls which is my job as an opener," he said.
"It would have been nice to score a few more runs but I was doing my job.
"The pressure I put on myself is a bit less in the Big Bash. It's not my number one format at the moment.
"In red-ball cricket I put a lot of pressure on myself which is never good. It's nice to relax and play with a bit of freedom.
"It's tough. You want to compose yourself in a red-ball game, it's a lot different and not as fast-paced. If you get out you're a bit more disappointed.
"In the Big Bash if you get out it's one of those things. It's a mindset thing for me that I've got to work on.
"It's screaming at me that I need to relax more, but when you get out there that's a tough thing to do."
Gold Coast local Matt Kuhnemann will replace Mitch Swepson in the Heat's line-up tonight after the leg spinner was called into Australia's Test squad.
The Heat will also be boosted by the return of big-hitting English opener Tom Banton after he missed Brisbane's 48-run win against the Sixers with a virus.
HEAT: Chris Lynn (c), Tom Banton, Max Bryant, Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Kuhnemann, Josh Lalor, Ben Laughlin, James Peirson, Jack Prestwidge, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Zahir Khan.