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Ellis keen to ‘take opportunities when they come’ as pacer eyes dual World Cup appearance

Last updated on 03 Sep 2023 | 04:44 AM
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Ellis keen to ‘take opportunities when they come’ as pacer eyes dual World Cup appearance

Ellis asserted that his goal has always been simple: to do his best everytime he wears national colours

Two years into this T20 International career, Nathan Ellis has dream numbers in the shortest format: he’s taken 18 wickets in 7 matches at an economy of 6.30, and his bowling average reads a remarkable 9.11. 

Going by the numbers, and Ellis’ showing in T20Is, it’ll only be fair to assume that he’s a sure-shot starter in the shortest format but the harsh reality for the 28-year-old is that he is someone still trying to ‘force’ his way into the main XI, owing to Australia’s strength in depth in the pace department that already consists of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

On the back of his match-winning three-fer in the second T20I against South Africa, Ellis, whose chances have been sporadic, admitted that it’s tough to be ‘in and out’ of the side, but asserted that his goal has always been simple: to do his best everytime he wears national colours.

"It's something that I've… not struggled with, [but] you sort of have to try and become accustomed to," he said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.

"I haven't played consecutive games and have got one game here, one game there, so it's definitely easy to fall into the mindset of 'this is my only chance' or 'this could be my last chance', that sort of thing.

"So for me, one, trying to get that mentality out of my mind is a challenge, and two, I'm just trying to do the best I can any time I wear the colours. I'm under no illusions that at the current stage I'm not in the first XI, so it's taking the opportunities when they come and doing the best I can and keep throwing my hat in the ring for selection."

Known primarily for his ability to vary the pace of the ball impeccably, Ellis has the reputation of being a ‘death-over specialist’. However, in the second T20I on Friday, it was inside the powerplay that the 28-year-old did serious damage, removing Reeza Hendricks and Dewald Brevis in consecutive deliveries to ping the Proteas back.

Ellis said that he’s trying to move away from getting pigeon-holed as a ‘death-over specialist’.

"In T20 cricket, it's very easy to get pigeon-holed in certain roles and I've been spoken about as a death bowler for a little while now," he said. 

"So a big goal for me was... trying to make an impact in the powerplay, so to do that last night was obviously really great."

Ellis is a red-hot favorite to make it to Australia’s T20 World Cup squad next year, but there’s also a realistic chance that the right-armer could make the 50-over World Cup squad. He’s only played 4 ODIs to date but all four have come in the subcontinent, where his skiddiness is ultra-effective, as he showcased in the Vizag ODI a few months ago against India, where he returned figures of 2/13 off 5 overs.

Ellis has got his eye on both World Cups and thus, as a result, has temporarily halted playing first-class cricket, with his last FC appearance coming back in February.

"It's definitely something I have had to think about," he said of the workload.

"I've had a little bit of red-ball experience with [Tasmania] and it's something I really love doing and I've done okay… but on the flip side, all my opportunities for Australia have been on the white-ball set-up so it has been kind of hard to balance the two.

"You add the physical element of trying to get back to Tassie and play [Sheffield] Shield cricket, you can't really just go back after playing T20 tournaments and go straight into a Shield game, so it becomes more of a physical conversation and a risk-reward conversation.

"For me, my opportunity is white-ball cricket for Australia so I sort of feel, at the moment with the World Cups coming up in the next year or 18 months, put all my eggs in the white-ball basket currently then when the opportunity to play red-ball cricket arises, if it makes sense, it makes sense."

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