Young blaster Jake Fraser-McGurk will be made to earn a Test call-up through strong Sheffield Shield performances rather than be shoehorned into Australia’s red-ball squad.
Two days after Australian legend Ricky Ponting earmarked Fraser-McGurk as a three-format star, chairman of selectors George Bailey tempered expectations around the 21-year-old.
“His ability to learn about how to best utilise that (talent) across the formats will be really interesting over the next coming years,” Bailey said on Friday after announcing Australia’s squad for the Test tour of New Zealand.
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“His opportunity to go back and get some really good, consistent performances in Shield cricket is really important.”
The Victorian, who crossed to South Australia ahead of the current domestic season, delivered eye-catching performances in his first two ODIs.
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Fraser-McGurk belted 41 off 18 balls in Australia’s record win — achieved with 43 overs left — against West Indies in Canberra on Tuesday.
It came after he smashed a towering six in Sydney on Sunday on ODI debut before being dismissed on the fifth ball of the match.
“(We’re) thrilled with what he did when he came in and great to see him get an opportunity through those one-dayers,” Bailey said. “There’s clearly a high, high degree of talent with Jake.”
Jake Fraser-McGurk will have to prove himself in the Sheffield Shield before thinking of a Test cap. Credit: AAP
Fraser-McGurk was not considered for the T20 squads against the West Indies or in New Zealand, as selectors eye the World Cup to be held in the United States and the Caribbean in June.
“We feel like we’ve got some pretty good options at the top of the order in that T20 side,” Bailey said.
“Even then there’s a couple of other guys who have batted in the middle or have batted at the top in T20 cricket who can cover as well.
“The talent’s there (with Fraser-McGurk), he’s one we’re certainly keeping a close eye on.”
Ponting, Australia’s all-time leading run-scorer, was bullish on Fraser-McGurk’s prospects.
“When we saw (David Warner) at the start everyone doubted whether he’s going to be good enough to play Test cricket, technically,” the former Australian superstar said on Wednesday.
“But with the talent and the skill that (Warner) had — Jake has got as much talent as David had coming through … the earlier they can get him into the system (the better).”
Fraser-McGurk was “pretty happy” when he heard Ponting’s comments.
“You’re not going to be sad when Ricky says that about you, are you?” he told SEN on Friday.