Ollie Davies knew he needed to produce this summer following a lackluster second season, and he has delivered, outperforming Thunder’s Australian star David Warner, who said, “I need to f—-ing do something, honestly.” That was Ollie Davies’ message to himself at the start of the summer of 2022-23.
The prodigiously gifted 22-year-old has had a difficult year on and off the field after a spectacular 2020-21 season that featured his KFC BBL and NSW List A debuts, as well as two first-grade hundreds for club side Manly-Warringah, one of which came in a T20 match. Ollie Davies scored 26 in 12 matches last summer, including club cricket, the Toyota Second XI and Marsh Cup for NSW, and the BBL. While his first half of the season was cut short due to a fractured thumb sustained while playing for Manly-Warringah in November 2021, Davies is the first to acknowledge his results weren’t up to par.
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I needed to try and get some runs this year,” Ollie Davies told cricket.com.au. I feel like I’ve been a boundary and out sort of person for the past several years.” The flamboyant right-main hander’s goal heading into BBL|12 – a competition where Ollie Davies first made a name for himself with five consecutive sixes in just his second Big Bash match in December 2020 – was to be available for selection for the entire 14-game season in the hope of securing a spot in the Sydney Thunder side.
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It took him a bit to get going this season before breaking free with a first-ever BBL half-century on New Year’s Eve in Albury, followed by another in the Thunder’s following encounter. On January 13, he made Australian star David Warner seem like a second-stringer with a 36-ball 52 against the Perth Scorchers in his first Big Bash game in nine years. Ollie Davies leads the Thunder’s BBL|12 run total (and seventh in the tournament) with 333 strikes at 133.73 ahead of tonight’s Eliminator final against the Brisbane Heat at Sydney Showground Stadium.
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“It’s not often you get to bat alongside David Warner and then face heaps more balls than him and he seemed to just be putting me on strike,” Ollie Davies recalled of their 67-run partnership, to which he contributed 49 runs. “It was quite nice, he was speaking to me every single ball just making me think about what I was trying to accomplish and where I wanted to hit it, and it was just something that I hadn’t really experienced before and it helped me a lot. “I was fairly delighted with my one hundred at Manly for the year, but I’ve just been on a bit of a run lately.
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“I’ve learned from the past years about when to take chances and when to knuckle down a little more (with my) shot selection. “It’s simply an opportunity for me to attempt to control the field a little bit so that I can get more balls in the spots that I want to get them in.” Ollie Davies, who is joined at the Thunder this season by his younger brother Joel, believes that his BBL success will earn him a berth in the NSW Marsh One-Day Cup squad and, finally, a Sheffield Shield debut when the domestic season begins in February after the Big Bash.
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Historically a domestic cricket powerhouse, NSW has struggled this year, finishing at the bottom of both the Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield tables with just one victory in both, prompting the state to break company with head coach Phil Jaques at the end of November. Ollie Davieshit a red-ball century (115 off 106 balls) against the visiting West Indians in November, a side he has a connection to and ‘always played for in the garden’ with his mother Simone, who was born in Trinidad, to go with his two-day century for Manly-Warringah earlier that month.
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“My goal is to perhaps play several Shield games at the end of the year,” he stated. “That’s what I want to do, and I know it’s a white and red ball, but I hope the Blues’ selectors recognize that it’s still a ball and you have to smash it and that my form in the white ball will hopefully cross over to red-ball as well.”
Ollie Davies, who played in NSW’s penultimate Marsh Cup encounter before the BBL|12 breaks, a 31-run defeat to Queensland, is confident of keeping his spot when the season begins. But first, the Renegades meet the Heat in a sudden-death Eliminator final tonight, with the winner advancing to face the Heat at Marvel Stadium on Sunday night.
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