Renshaw’s moment of clarity on way to Ashes tour selection

Matt Renshaw made an outstanding recovery from a challenging tour of India

As a result of an epiphany, he had while on the Australia A tour of New Zealand, Matt Renshaw was able to secure a position on the impending Ashes tour.

The English-born left-hander, who is now 27 years old, had a disastrous Test tour of India during which he made scores of 0, 2, and 2 in two Tests. He would only board the plane to England if he ran frequently.

Renshaw had a great start to the Australia A trip against New Zealand A at Lincoln with scores of 112 and 78 while starting the innings.

The announcement of Cricket Australia’s centrally-contracted players list was imminent with only one game left, and while he awaited it, his mind began to play tricks.

“I had a little bit of a blip in the first innings of the second game. The contract list had just come out and I had missed out,”

Renshaw told AAP.

“I had done a bit of thinking about that and was trying to predict stuff in my own head, but that didn’t really work out.

“That second game it got in my head in the first innings. I played a terrible shot and got out for two. I said to myself, ‘OK, that’s not why you play. Get back to why you want to play’…and I scored [140] in the second innings.

“Obviously India was tough mentally from the cricket side of things. I would have liked a lot more runs but unfortunately that wasn’t the case,”

Renshaw added.

“So I went to New Zealand with a mindset to enjoy my cricket. It can be tough when you know you have to score runs to get in a side, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just trying to enjoy myself. That is when I produce my best batting. The results over there were part and parcel of that.”

Renshaw’s strategy resembled that of a zen monk, who clears his mind without considering clinging to or pursuing an improbable objective. He struck gold when George Bailey, the Australian chair of selectors, called him later with information about the Ashes team.

“I had spoken to Usman Khawaja and he got his call the day before so I knew mine was coming,”

Renshaw said.

“George gave me a call and it started with all the standard stuff and I said,’ Come on, just tell me whether I am in or out’. He told me I was in and I was really excited to be going to England.”

Early in his Test career, Renshaw batted first, but he later switched to opening, calling his dismissal from the Queensland team “a silver lining” years ago.

“It made me force my way back into the side at No. 5, just because of how strong our batting order has been,”

Renshaw said.

“I always thought I had the game to bat in the middle order. A lot of openers do, it’s just that they haven’t had the opportunity.

“In terms of this tour, it is going to be about supporting the boys at the start and if I do get an opportunity to play, whether as an opener or in the middle order, I will enjoy myself.

“It is the Ashes. There will be more emotions and more people watching but at the end of the day it is a bowler against a batter trying to score runs.”