Behrendorff's Aussie call up proof the PM's XI is still alive

Behrendorff's Aussie call up proof the PM's XI is still alive

International rookie Jason Behrendorff wants to bring the fun back into playing for Australia as the Canberra fast bowler prepares for the biggest moment of his career.

Tuggeranong junior Behrendorff was added to Australia's Twenty20 squad on Thursday for games against South Africa and India in the coming weeks.

The 'Dorff' is back: Jason Behrendorff has been called into the Australian team.

The 'Dorff' is back: Jason Behrendorff has been called into the Australian team.Credit:Lawrence Atkin

It's a massive step for the 28-year-old, who made his international debut in India last year and has struggled to overcome stress fractures in his back.

He will also be thrust into the Australian set up at a time when the game is on its knees following boardroom resignations and a damning review into cricket's culture.


Australia has won just two of the past one-day internationals and has been struggling since the ball tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

But the relaxed left-armer could be the calming influence at a chaotic time after launching himself into the national team with a brilliant Prime Minister's XI performance last week.

"It's hard to say because you're not in the bubble [of the Australian team], but for us [in Western Australia] it's always about having fun. About enjoy cricket and getting back to why you play the game," Behrendorff said.

"We love playing cricket and the game, and that's what drives you - wanting to have success and to have fun with your mates. So if we stick to the basics, I think we'll go well.

"It doesn't really affect me, it goes on above our heads and we can't make too many decisions. We've just got to play good cricket and I can't wait to pull on the green and gold again."

Jason Behrendorff was on fire in his first over against South Africa.

Jason Behrendorff was on fire in his first over against South Africa.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Behrendorff's career has been continually interrupted by injuries, prompting him to put his Sheffield Shield and long-form cricket ambitions on hold to focus on one-dayers and T20s.

The move has paid off, and Behrendorff is proof the PM's XI fixture at Manuka Oval still means something even if only 1824 people were in the stands to watch the game against South Africa.

Behrendorff took two wickets in his first over and finished with figures of 3-35 in the win against South Africa, giving Australian coach Justin Langer the perfect reason to offer him a chance to restart his international career.


Behrendorff made his Australian debut in India last year. The first T20 fixture was washed out before he got a chance to bowl, but he made up for it with a brilliant 4-21 in his second game.

Now he has the chance to play in front of family and friends when Australia plays South Africa on the Gold Coast and then against India at the Gabba, MCG and SCG.

"The ultimate goal is to play cricket for Australia and I've got the chance to do that again," Behrendorff said.

"To play for Australia on home soil, that's something that's so exciting for me. It's every kid's dream, so I'm really looking forward to it.


"[The PM's XI] was great for me, I was building to that. The positive thing for me was that I was back swinging the ball again and being more consistent.

"I worked so hard at that, and it felt like it was coming together. The PM's XI, realistically, there's not a lot of pressure. We showed that last week, guys had fun. You back yourself and ability, you've got to trust yourself and do it."

Behrendorff has worked with mentor Langer in Western Australia for the past six years and was keen to build on their partnership on the international stage.

"It's very exciting, he set a great foundation here for us in WA and to take that into the Australian team is very exciting," Behrendorff said.

"He's been a really good sounding board and a mentor for me. Someone I can turn to and chat to, basically just be open and frank with him. He can tell me how it is, as well. It's a really positive relationship and I really respect what he says."

Australia will play against South Africa in a one-off T20 on November 17 before hosting India in a three-match T20 series.

T20 squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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