They may be adversaries now, but Matt Short is still reaping the benefits of chats with Cameron White, which have helped enhance his game this summer. They may be on different teams now, even rival ones tonight, but Cameron White’s impact on Matt Short continues to pay benefits for the Strikers’ strong start. Following six scores of 20 to 40 in a breakthrough KFC BBL season last summer, the 27-year-old allrounder has taken his consistency to a new level this season.
BBL|12, Matt Short plays the long game as T20 consistency grows
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Not only did he break through with a first T20 century in a record run chase against the Hurricanes, but he’s also been turning those starts into more substantive scores. Opta data also supports this; in BBL|12, he has faced 124 deliveries in the middle overs (7-15) for 178 runs, compared to 95 for 133 runs in his 16 innings in BBL|11.
It’s also been a boon for the Strikers and Matt Short towards the end of games, with the opener more than tripling his balls faced from over 16 to 20 this season (21 in BBL|12 vs. nine in BBL|11), which has resulted in 48 runs at an unbelievable strike rate of 228.57. When a little mechanical tweak allowed him to remain more neutral at the crease and hit to all parts of the field, it was to chat with White while he was with the Strikers about batting strategy that have resulted in the most significant change in his performance this season.
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I’d been getting off to flyers early on and then throwing my wicket away after 30 runs for the past few years,” Matt Short said. He (White) has helped me steer my way through an inning; if I get through that first Powerplay, it’s almost like toning it down and simply hitting, taking the ones and twos and the odd boundary here and there. White, a former Strikers and Sixers assistant coach, told cricket.com.au that middle overs batting was the ability that needed the most time for young players to perfect.
“That’s why you see undervalued players – not that they’re undervalued within their teams, but people like Jordan Silk and Moises Henriques in this (Sixers) team, Jon Wells from the Strikers now Renegades, they’re specialist positions that are still sought after in the Big Bash,” said White, who played 142 matches for Australia across all formats before retiring in 2020 to coach. (It was) really giving him (Matt Short) a bit of a plan and just figuring out when the proper moment to pull the trigger is and having a little more technique just getting back into a batting mindset.
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“He was particularly outstanding at the start of last season, making a bunch of 30s and 40s and getting the squad off to a flyer.” However, in 16 innings, he only converted three of them. Whereas this year, the adjustment for him to not just get through the initial Powerplay, but to have some method to his play about really creating innings through the middle and not just being out for 45 off 25 and your winnings are done,” says the pitcher.
Despite not being nominated for the auction last year, Matt Short’s newfound consistency, combined with his power, has prompted Australian great Ricky Ponting to declare that Matt Short should be on the radar of Indian Premier League clubs, and superstar teammate Rashid Khan to lead calls for his inclusion in Australia’s T20 team. White believes Short is ready for international cricket, particularly in Australia. “He’s doing it all; batting, bowling, fielding, and captaincy, so it’s no wonder that there’s a little of talk about him having a chance for Australia now, which is great to see,” he added.
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He’s got a lot of potential, and everyone hopes he’ll be able to alter his game swiftly and suitably if he’s given a chance in any circumstances, but clearly, the faster wickets here in Australia he’s extremely well suited to… and I hope he gets a shot at some point.” White thinks Matt Short was “ready for” the chance to open the batting at the start of last season, and that, along with a little modification to his pre-delivery strategy, has helped convert him into one of the competition’s most devastating openers.
“I felt like he was committing far too far forward and virtually marching towards the bowler, and it had to be full for him to score,” White said. We worked on his setup to be a little more neutral so he could play from the front and back foot to hopefully help him score all over the wicket. As you can see now with the way he’s playing, he’s a lot more neutrally set up and he can definitely play off the front foot and you can see as soon as they’re bowling waist height or get on his hip at the moment, he’s really dangerous with that pick up shot, particularly in Adelaide.
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He’s not committed too far forward or too far back and thus he can simply react to whatever ball is played to him and allow his natural skill to take over. That’s what he’s doing right now; he’s putting himself in a terrific position to get a solid strike on the ball.
While White will be hopeful that his comprehensive understanding of Matt Short’s game plan will help him against the tournament’s current best run-scorer tonight when the Strikers face the Sixers in Coffs Harbour, it will no doubt provide him some delight to watch his old student go big once again. It’s fantastic for Matt Short; he’s worked really hard throughout his career,” White added. He’s always had the potential to be a very excellent player, and he’s now one of the best in the Big Bash… He excels in all three fields.”
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