Ben Dunk will make his Australia Twenty20 debut against South Africa next month just two years after being shown the door by Darren Lehmann at Queesland.
Two years after being shown the door by Australian coach Darren Lehmann at Queensland, Ben Dunk’s red-hot form for Tasmania has delivered him his international debut.
The 27-year-old wicket-keeper’s record-breaking 229 not out against his former State at North Sydney Oval on Saturday was enough to cement his place in the Australian Twenty20 squad for next month’s three-match series against South Africa, capping off an excellent 12 months that also saw him top the run-scoring charts in last year’s Big Bash competition.
Beating a host of gloveman to the job including Matt Wade, Tim Paine, Peter Nevill and Sam Whiteman, Dunk has all of a sudden shot up the national wicket-keeping pecking order, with Brad Haddin on Test duty in the UAE.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for a player who was delisted by Lehmann when he was coach of the Bulls before being appointed to the Australia role last year.
“This is the high point for me,” Dunk said.
“Things didn’t work out in Queensland for a number of reasons, but the culture I walked into at Tasmania certainly helped bring out the best in me.”
Being behind Queensland gloveman Chris Hartley made it difficult for Dunk to break into the side and Lehmann made the decision to cut the left-hander from his squad.
The irony of Lehmann now being in charge of the international set-up isn’t lost on Dunk who said there is no hard feelings towards his former coach who won’t lead the T20 side against South Africa due to his responsibilities with the Test team in the UAE against Pakistan.
“Every coach has to make their opinions and he had to form a squad that was going to take Queensland forward and I wasn’t part of those plans,” Dunk said.
“That is OK and I think I am a much better player now than I was then and hopefully I can form a different opinion.
“Every time I see him I say hello to him, I haven’t spoken to him in the last 48 hours, he’s a bit busy at the moment.
“But it’s the way professional sport is, coaches live and die by their success and have to make decisions and unfortunately I was on the wrong end of that one.”
With No.1 keeper Haddin among a host of stars in the UAE when the three-match series starts on November 5 in Adelaide, Dunk has a chance to make a major impression.
At 36 years of age, Haddin can’t go on forever, and although Dunk’s first-class record isn’t great, he has shown plenty of ability in the shorter forms.
Australia selector Mark Waugh said Dunk timed his run perfectly but his selection was thoroughly deserved.
“The double hundred didn’t do him any harm, but Ben was the leading run-scorer in the Big Bash last year and his form is excellent in this format,” Waugh said.
“He is a very capable keeper when he first played first-class cricket and he deserves his spot.”