T20 freelancer Tim David set for Australia debut | Cricket


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Tim David played 14 T20Is for Singapore. At the last count, he had represented nine teams in T20 leagues around the world. He also plays in The Hundred – England’s 100-ball competition. That he’s a T20 globetrotter is clear, but Tuesday evening in Mohali promises to be different. The 26-year-old is set to get his first real taste of international cricket when he makes his debut for Australia in the first T20I against India. In the absence of Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, David–he was born in Singapore but grew up in Perth—will be Australia’s designated big-hitter in the three-match series.

David epitomises the modern-day T20 cricketer, having gained prominence even before stepping into international cricket. He hasn’t played at senior level in Australia beyond the Big Bash League, but has impressed enough in T20 franchise cricket to be catapulted into the squad for the World Cup at home starting next month.

Standing 6ft 5in with the ability to hit the ball a long way, David’s first brush with spotlight was in 2020/21 when a breakout BBL campaign for Hobart Hurricanes saw him smash 279 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 153.29. Interest from franchises around the globe followed as David began playing in the Pakistan Super League, Caribbean Premier League, The Hundred, and finally IPL.

His IPL opportunity came when Royal Challengers Bangalore picked him as replacement for New Zealand’s Finn Allen in the second half of the 2021 edition.

“In 2021, we were looking for someone with the versatility to bat anywhere from No 4 to 7,” said R Malolan, RCB’s head of scouting. “David fit that bill very well, especially as someone who was equally adept against pace and spin. He had the ability to hit a six off the first ball if required or play a conservative role if we lost wickets. That’s what we saw in him.”

Though he played just one game for RCB, Mumbai Indians were aware of what David brought to the table, forking out 8.25 crore for his services ahead of IPL 2022. He is yet to take centre stage in IPL, like he has done in other leagues, but he showed a glimpse of his potential in the latter stages of MI’s underwhelming season. He hit 16 sixes in the 86 balls he faced, ending with an overall strike rate of 216.28. In Mumbai’s last two games, he scored 46 off 18 balls and 34 off 11 balls.

“He does the dirty job for the teams he plays for in franchise cricket. Playing international cricket is a different cup of tea. There is going to be a lot of pressure on him. But he has played that specific role for different franchises. I think he will be able to deliver. He is going to go from strength to strength,” said Malolan.

David has not taken the conventional route to the Australian set-up. Mitchell Starc mentioned how he has only seen David playing on television, which must be the case for many of his Australian teammates. Given the mushrooming of T20 leagues, David might be a trendsetter in this regard.

“I look forward to meeting him. He’s obviously plied his trade around the world in different leagues. I think we’ll see more and more players (emerge) in that fashion. Certainly in the next generation, I’m sure we’ll see it more and more with more opportunities in different leagues. That’s just the way cricket seems to be heading at the minute,” Starc was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Malolan too felt this is the next step in the evolution of T20 cricket. “There are going to be more and more players picked directly from T20 leagues. From a franchise perspective, you cannot be waiting for players to play international cricket and doing well before picking them in T20 leagues. Franchises are looking to recognise talent early,” he said.

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