Australia have definitely found a bankable fast bowling all-rounder in Cameron Green
Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23: Australia have definitely found a bankable fast bowling all-rounder in Cameron Green. The journey of Cameron Green so far in international cricket.
The talk of the town, the star of the 21st century in world cricket - a tall, charismatic personality, topped off with the ability to bowl at 140 kmph or more and tonk the bowlers all over the park at will with the bat in the middle order, is the need of the hour for any squad in international cricket. And Australia might have found the entire clock instead of just the hour hand in the form of 23-year-old all-rounder, Cameron Green. Green, who has been performing against the rub of the green, has had an eventful start to his cricketing career and in a short span of time has made quite a mark in international cricket.
Is the grass always greener on the other side? Come, Cameron Green!
A 6’4’’ all-rounder who can bat, bowl and field well is a match made in heaven. Every team desires and scouts hard for fast bowling all-rounders, which are like the red diamonds in the cricket world. Green made his cricketing debut at contractual level with the Western Australia team as a schoolboy cricketer, picking up 5-24 on his debut match against Tasmania. This became the headlines in the Australian media that a once in a generation fast bowling all-rounder has arrived yet again, not so surprisingly, once again in Australia. But just like any other tall fast bowler, Green was soon hit with a stress fracture. A fast bowler's injury is comparable to common cold and flu. Cameron took his time, rehabilitated during the whole of 2017-18, and came back with a bang, accumulating scores of 87* and 121*, and rescuing his team to a draw against Queensland at the Gabba.
A couple of hundreds doubled up with a daddy hundred and his then career best 197 against New South Wales in October 2020 followed. Such treasured performances earned him a maiden call-up into Australia’s international men’s setup for ODIs and T20Is to face the touring Indian team in 2020-21. With this selection, Australia’s selectors found a red diamond in Cameron Green and overturned the saying, "Grass is always greener on the other side", as Cameron was greener on every side of the ground!
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Stamping his authority in international cricket - one series at a time!
Unlike his debut domestic match, Cameron Green wasn’t lucky in mitigating the cold-start effect in international cricket. In fact, in his debut international innings, Green conceded runs at over 6 runs per over and could manage only 21 runs. Even in the Test series, where Green got an opportunity in the first Test at Adelaide in 2020-21 against India, he failed to impress with just 11 runs in his first innings. In fact, in his debut Test series, he could only manage to make 236 runs in seven innings at a below-par average of 33.71 with just one fifty-plus score and did not manage to pick even a single wicket in the six innings he bowled at the Indian batters. The clouds of doubts were heavy on the much-hyped next big sensation in cricket.
After an average series with India, Australia still backed the youngster for the big five-Test Ashes series down under in 2021-22. Though the all-rounder failed to write his name in any of the history books with the bat, he scored two important fifties. Scoring a crucial 74 runs off 122 deliveries to collaborate on a 179-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Usman Khawaja in the third innings in Sydney to save Australia from an early collapse of 4-86. Green, following his form with another 74 runs in the first innings, this time in Hobart, yet again after the top order collapsed and Australia were stranded at 4-83, stitched a 121-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Travis Head to push Australia towards 303 runs at the end of the first innings.
The silver lining of both innings was that this bloke can absorb pressure like a sponge. And the ability to counterattack the bowlers under pressure is what is needed in international cricket. This was also the first series in which Green showcased his bowling prowess and picked up 13 wickets in the 10 innings he bowled at England batters.
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First tour outside of Australia: selectors gamble with Green in the barren lands of Pakistan
Showing signs of a young Shane Watson, Australian selectors and team management were ready to bet their money on this sensational all-rounder as the future star. A tall, fast bowler is always prone to injuries, be they stress fractures or lower back injuries, and needs to be groomed and looked after pretty well. Yet, Australia gambled on the all-rounder by playing him in all three Test matches in Pakistan’s hot and humid conditions, knowing that it would provide zero to no assistance to the fast bowlers. And boy! Green responded in some fine fashion. Though he wasn’t yet able to score a hundred in Test cricket or take a five-fer, which is probably how the cricketing pundits judge a player, Green was producing match-winning cameos both with the bat and the ball.
He scored 155 runs in three innings at a staggering average of 51.7, probably his best series as a Test batter till then. Though he managed to score 236 runs on the entire tour and picked up just five wickets, the signs of improvement were there on his debut sub-continental tour. Australia’s gamble paid off, as Green returned from the tour without any injuries, having tasted what it is to play on Asian pitches.
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Cameron Green: The tall fast bowler emerges!
Green continued his green patch and went on to score 157 runs in five matches on Sri Lankan pitches at a healthy average of 39.25 but was failing to dominate the opposition with the ball in hand. Then came the Zimbabwe three-ODI series. A series that rightly earned him the tag of a bowling all-rounder as he bagged his first ever five-fer in international cricket. Green dismantled the Zimbabwe batters, accumulated eight crucial wickets against his name in the series, and averaged a mind-boggling 7.12 with the ball. Though Green picked up one or two odd wickets here and there almost every series, he was still unable to snatch a five-fer in Test cricket, where his real value addition as an all-rounder was required. A crucial Test series against the Proteas was on the cards, an important series with the WTC qualifications, and the tag of never beating the South Africans since 2005-06 at home turf headlined every news article. Green was under pressure leading up to the Proteas series, as he had a series to forget against the West Indies where he failed both with the bat and the ball.
Failed! Yes, Cameron Green failed yet again in the first Test with just 18 runs and zero wickets in his kitty. Then arrived the much-anticipated Boxing Day Test match at the MCG. The much-celebrated Melbourne is home to big matches and big players and the big, tall all-rounder finally made his mark! Finally, defying all odds, Green picked up his maiden five-fer in the first innings. Swinging the red ball like a banana, he troubled the South Africans with his pace and bounce. He later translated the bowling form into batting form, scoring 51 not out with a fractured thumb and helping Australia post a mammoth 575/8, which resulted in an innings defeat for the Proteas and their first series loss in Australia since 2005-06.
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INR 17.5 crore! Sold to the Mumbai Indians: Green bags an IPL contract!
After his heroics in Test cricket, Green stamped his authority in ODI and T20 cricket. Smoking 89 not out off just 92 deliveries against the Kiwis and helping Australia chase 233 with 30 deliveries to spare. A sign of a finisher hidden inside him was sparked. He further continued his white-ball form in the T20 tour of India, where he came in as a replacement for the injured David Warner. Opening the innings, Green smashed every Indian bowler in Mohali, scoring 61 off just 30 deliveries, bringing up his maiden T20 fifty. Again, an impactful and match-winning innings helped Australia chase down a mammoth 211 runs with four balls to spare. He continued his rich vein of form and delivered another fifty in the third T20I. By then, he had grabbed the eyeballs of the owners of the rich cash cow, which is the Indian Premier League (IPL). Such consistent exploits helped the rare diamond all-rounder earn a whopping INR 17.5 crore in the IPL as he was sold to the Mumbai Indians.
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Arrives the much-hyped Test tour of India - the real test of the best!
A valiant batting effort with a fractured thumb did make Green a warrior in the media, but the innings came with a 2-month rest for the Aussie. A crucial member of the side, the all-rounder, who was anticipated to bring in the much-needed balance in the squad with his bowling and batting abilities, was sidelined from the opening two matches against India at Nagpur and Delhi, respectively. Finally, Green played his first Test in India at Indore and impressed from the start. A knock of ages, counter-attacking probably the best spinners in the world - Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - at their home, is no joke! And Cameron stood tall like a standup comedian with a mammoth 208-run partnership with Usman Khawaja to bring up his maiden Test century. And what a moment to take the monkey off his shoulders, of all places, in the tough and spinning conditions of India, where many great batting careers have ended just because of failure to score in India. Tackling Ashwin with great composure and a big, big front-foot stride against Jadeja to defend the ball like it’s no real deal. Well, no pressure on Mr. Green!
Though it is still early days for the 23-year-old cricketer in international cricket, the signs of being the next big thing in cricket are evident and much talked about, not just in the media but by the players too. Ravichandran Ashwin recently talked about the three-dimensional player Green. Cameron Green can level up his game even further if he is looked after and groomed well by the Australian management, which they sure will do to manage his workload with the ODI World Cup and WTC final coming up.
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