Cameron Green is the type of player that cricket boards and scouts spend years scouring the country looking for.
In Australia’s case, they have been looking for a player like him since Andrew Flintoff did what he did in the 2005 Ashes series and be their version of the man who can do it all.
Long has Australia searched for thier heir to Andrew Symonds. Their game-changing all-rounder who could bat at number six with all the explosive power in the world and bowl a variation of medium pace and off-spin on occasion too.
Often has Australia, and the cricketing loving public pinned their hopes and expectations on their batting all-rounder who can steam in and bowl quickly. The Test careers of Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh, exhibit A and B, were bumpy rides where even the most rusted on fans’ patience was tested at certain points along the road.
Watson was tremendously talented but so often a tease.
Injuries played a role in the early Watson Test career years. Once he broke his way back into the team it was about cementing himself into a position and staying there. Watson would bat in almost every position in the top seven across his 59 Test career. Only once he wrapped his domestic T20 career did Australian fans really realize the cricketer they had and took for granted.
Mitchell Marsh was the player that Cricket Australia wanted to succeed so badly. Almost to the point continually parading him out, more out of blind love and hope that eventually, he will come off and be the player that he was destined to be.
Marsh’s career has had many different iterations and chapters in different formats of the game. While there are some that might sit in a corner and call for his re-introduction to the Test circle, those with knowledge would say that Marsh has found his place and is enjoying his spot in the national setup, and newfound admiration among the Australian cricket-loving public.
But in Green Australia has a player on their hands who might be better than they could have ever imagined.
He’s 22 years old. He’s over two metres tall. He bats in the top four for his home state and he pushes the speed gun to 140km and over.
What’s more? Like Symonds, he can field in the gully, move like a gazelle, and is no stranger to taking a blinding catch.
The experience he gleaned from being the new boy in the squad and team last season against India was a steep learning curve against some of the world’s best. But it was an experience that has set him up and primed him for this summer.
While he is yet to make an impression with the bat, it’s with the ball where Green is making his mark and his presence felt across the opening two Ashes Tests.
The Brisbane Test was a major breakthrough, where he claimed his first Test wicket in Ollie Pope and, perhaps even more significant, caught the edge of Joe Root and accounted for him in the second innings when he was powering towards his seventh century for 2021.Embed from Getty Images
As Joe Root and Dawid Malan produced a defiant, counter-attacking stand for England in the first session on Day 3 at Adelaide, Green’s delayed introduction could have been short-lived or at a minimum, in short bursts. His two erratic and untidy overs prior to the Dinner break went for 11 runs.
At the Dinner break, 10 minutes before the scheduled re-start, Green was out in the middle of Adelaide Oval with assistant coach Andrew McDonald, practicing his run-throughs and working on pitching it on the right length. He, like the other Australian quick bowlers, were all a fraction short in that first session.
Handed the ball to resume after the Dinner break, an immediate chance to put his most recent coaching session into practice, it just so happened to be the passage of play that changed the course of the day.
Noticeably going up a gear in pace – he was to average around 141 km/h for the spell, with a top mark around 146 – Green extracted bounce and just enough sideways movement to worry Root while keeping him scoreless.
He was able to work him over first, challenging both edges, getting him to play and miss before an uncharacteristic slice out to the fielder at point. Before following up with a shorter delivery which Root backed away from and edged through to Steve Smith in the slips cordon.
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Green’s spell, seven overs, three maidens, 1/17, along with the partnership with Nathan Lyon at the other end, got the game turning back in Australia’s favour. He returned late to take the wicket of Ben Stokes, just when he was looking to free the arm and enter “Headingley mode”.
While absent for this match, New captain Pat Cummins, knows what, and help but be excited about the commodity he has at his disposal.
“He’s not just a fifth bowling option, he’s a real fourth seamer. He’s talented, he’s got all the skills, he’s big, he bowls fast, hits the deck. I think you’ll see him bowl more.” Cummins said last week after the victory in Brisbane.
Mitchell Starc, the most senior seam bowler playing this game, couldn’t hide his joy end enjoyment of Green’s development, evolution, and contribution with the ball in the last two test matches.
‘We saw that last summer how valuable he can be to our attack” Starc said on Green at Stumps on Day 3.
“You got someone who is close to seven-foot-tall, who bowls at a pretty decent clip, gets extra bounce from that height, this summer he is coming into his own again.
“He’s taken his first wicket now, he’s got that little bit of confidence behind him.
“He just compliments the attack really well”
Starc backed Green to fire with the bat soon too.
“Obviously, he hasn’t quite come off with the bat just yet, But we saw some of that talent last summer and through Shield cricket so, an all-rounder of that ability, who can bowl quick, get bounce, get key wickets.
“It’s a huge plus for our attack”.
Being 22 years old, Green is nowhere near the finished product. He is still growing into his body and learning his full range of capabilities and developing different parts of his game.
His trajectory though is one that should be watched and nurtured by both office and fans and be truly excited about just this young man might be able to do at the peak of his powers in a couple of summers time.
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