Ashton Turner, who returned to bowling in international cricket last week, is hopeful of having an increased workload with the ball in the games to come, and insisted that he has started to enjoy bowling again. Turner also revealed that, in the Caribbean, he picked the brains of Andre Russell.
After starting off as a promising off-spinning all-rounder in U19 cricket, a series of shoulder injuries meant that Ashton Turner pretty much became a specialist batsman by the time he debuted for Australia in 2017. In the first four years of his international career, Australia’s highest wicket-taker in the 2012 U19 WC bowled just four overs, largely operating in the middle-order as a specialist finisher.
However, the ‘all-rounder’ within Turner made a comeback in the ODIs against West Indies last week as the right-armer bowled for the first time in his ODI career, sending down 14 overs across the last two games. And the off-spinner impressed, too, returning figures of 2/60 off the 14 overs he bowled, also bowling a maiden in the process.
Turner’s handy off-spin could give him a selection edge over his competitors come the WT20, and for that very reason, the 28-year-old, who is now fully fit, is hoping to get an increased workload with the ball in the T20Is against Bangladesh. Turner, who did not send down a single delivery for a good part of three years, further asserted that he has started to enjoy bowling again.
“Bowling is something I’ve always loved and unfortunately due to my shoulder injuries I haven’t been able to contribute much in games. It’s been almost two years since my last operation, so I feel as good about my bowling as I have in a long time,” Turner said ahead of the first T20I against Bangladesh, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
“Although I haven’t been able to bowl a lot in games, behind the scenes I’ve been working a lot at training and it’s nice in conditions that suited spin bowling and to be another option for the captain. Hoping that my bowling workloads can increase from here.
“Don’t think I’ve bowled eight overs in a game for more than four years…no doubt that will take some time. Feel like I’ve done everything I can over the recent periods and I’m starting to enjoy it as much as I used to.”
Turner came to the limelight following a stunning 84* in his second ODI against India that helped Australia chase 359, but the right-hander has, over the years, batted many a time in similar high-pressure situations for both Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers. It was that experience that helped Turner last week against the Windies, as, walking in at 114/4, he played another high-pressure knock (49 off 45) to steer Australia out of trouble and set up a dominant win. The 28-year-old asserted that he has been ‘lucky’, over the years, to experience high-pressure situations first-hand, something he believes cannot be replicated in training.
“There’s no secret until you’ve been able to walk out in high-pressure situations and perform, training can’t replicate that pressure. I’m fortunate that for a number of years now I’ve been able to experience some close games in the middle order and try to finish innings. With that experience, comes confidence and that’s not something that can be found at training.”
The series against the Windies also saw Turner return to the T20I set-up after two years, but though not accumulating runs, the right-hander exited the tour a more knowledgeable batsman. Turner revealed that the month-long tour gave him the opportunity to pick the brains of Andre Russell, someone who he described as the ‘best in the business’.
‘[Speaking to] Andre Russell on the back of the West Indies tour, being able to get some insights from him about how he goes about his game. He’s probably the best in the world at the moment at finishing innings and he’s another one playing T20 cricket only,” Turner said.
“The message coming from Andre is that he’s trying to replicate the situations he has in games and challenge him as much as possible.”