English glee as Aussies turn to 'Pom' Matt Renshaw with Adam Voges among five to go
Yorkshire-born 20-year-old in line for test debut as selectors wield the axe after run of poor form
Australia are banking on English-born opener Matt Renshaw as part of their rescue package for the crisis-hit test team, much to the glee of their arch cricketing rivals.
In one of the seismic selection purges in the last 30 years, opener Renshaw, 20, will be the youngest test batsman to debut for Australia since the late Phillip Hughes in 2009.
“This is a lifelong dream. I thought some day down the track I would be playing for Australia, but not at age 20,” said Renshaw.
The tall Queensland left-hander was born in Yorkshire but came to Australia via New Zealand aged 10, and was a childhood friend of England’s Joe Root.
He will open the batting with David Warner – who infamously punched Root in a Birmingham bar before the start of the 2013 Ashes.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) November 21, 2016
Renshaw is one of three likely test batting debuts along with Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson for the demoralised Australian team in this week’s Adelaide day-night test against South Africa.
Victorian batsman Handscomb, 25, is also the holder of a British passport, but was born in Australia to English parents.
Selectors wielded the axe after Australia lost by an innings and 80 runs to hand the Proteas an unassailable 2-0 series lead in Hobart.
Australia’s fifth test defeat in a row, after losing 3-0 in Sri Lanka in July and August, has left them on the brink of their first ever home test series whitewash.
“Can’t believe a country would pick a player not born and bred in their own back yard,” teased former England captain Michael Vaughan in a tweet.
“Great to see Australia picking an Englishman to get them out of this hole.... #Renshaw.”
London Daily Telegraph cricket writer Nick Hoult joined the fun, tweeting: “20 years on from the Aussie press dubbing [Martin] McCague the ‘rat who joined a sinking ship’ they pick a Pom in their losing Test team #fairdinkum”.
Renshaw got the nod after just 12 first-class games where he amassed 1,021 runs at 44.39 with three centuries, the latest, 108, coming in the Sheffield Shield last week.
His father Ian told Brisbane’s Courier Mail his son was “pure Aussie”.
“It is important for people to know that Matt loves Australia and he is as Australian as they come,” he said.
“For a long time it felt as though he couldn’t say that, because we, his parents, are English but he is pure Aussie.”
Renshaw will be a contrast to fellow left-hander Warner. Unlike his adventurous partner, he prizes occupation of the crease above all else.
That will be welcome for Australia, who were bundled out for 85 in the first innings in Hobart and lost 10-86 in a stunning collapse during the Perth series opener against the Proteas.
South Africa are chasing a first-ever series whitewash in Australia when they go into Thursday’s pink ball test.