Tim David has quickly established himself as one of cricket’s most destructive short-format batters, and an Aussie debut seems imminent.
We need to talk about Tim David.
The 26-year-old has quickly established himself as one of cricket’s most destructive short-format batters, and an Australian debut seems imminent.
After playing a handful of internationals for Singapore, David has been turning heads in countless domestic T20 competitions, including the Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League.
And on Saturday evening, calls for David to earn Australian selection grew in magnitude after another matchwinning performance in the Indian Premier League.
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The Mumbai Indians were in a spot of bother when David waltzed to the crease in the 15th over, requiring 65 runs from 33 deliveries to defeat Ricky Ponting’s Delhi Capitals’ at Wankhede Stadium.
But it was a situation that David was all too familiar with — he’s a proven finisher, something Australian cricket was desperately searching for 12 months ago.
After facing two dot balls, including a faint edge through to the wicketkeeper that Delhi didn’t review, David struck 34 runs from his next eight deliveries, combining with teammate Tilak Varma for a 50-run partnership to put Mumbai within touching distance of the 160-run target.
He struck two boundaries and four sixes before Indian seamer Shardul Thakur removed him with a low full toss — but the damage had been done.
It was the latest in a series of explosive David cameos this season, including a classy 46 (18) against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and an unbeaten 44 (21) against the top-of-the-table Gujarat Titans.
He has scored 173 runs from 75 balls in his six most recent IPL games.
South African legend Dale Steyn tweeted: “Tim David, you are going a long way bud.”
Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh posted: “Well played @timdavid8 you are a power-hitting machine.”
The question has to be asked — why isn’t David in Australia’s T20 squad?
David’s ability to clear the boundary rope without soaking up deliveries at the crease is what distinguishes him from the rest of the competition, and with a T20 World Cup on the horizon, he has done more than enough to push his case for a national call-up.
The right-hander has accumulated 186 runs for the Mumbai Indians this year, averaging 37.20 with the bat at a strike rate of 216.27 — nobody scored more IPL runs in 2022 at a better strike rate than David.
He’s only the third cricketer to finish an IPL campaign with more than 100 runs and a strike rate greater than 200, joining short-format icons Brendon McCullum and Andre Russell.
In comparison, incumbent Australian No. 6 Marcus Stoinis had a less successful IPL campaign with the Lucknow Super Giants, registering 147 runs at 21.00 at a strike rate of 151.54.
Stoinis was crucial to last year’s T20 World Cup triumph, smacking an unbeaten 40 (31) in the semi-final against Pakistan to secure Australia’s spot in the decider.
But importantly, Stoinis is not a natural T20 finisher — he has primarily found success opening the batting for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
National selectors would be tempted to shift Stoinis up the order to make room for David at No. 6 — George Bailey surely can’t ignore him for much longer.
ESPNcricinfo’s Matt Roller tweeted: “If Tim David isn’t playing for Australia in the T20 World Cup later this year then something has gone badly wrong.”
The prospect of David and Glenn Maxwell joining forces is a mouth-water prospect for any Australian cricket fan.
David was purchased by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping AU$1.53 million at this year’s IPL auction, earning larger bids than Australian stalwarts Pat Cummins, David Warner and Josh Hazlewood.
“I spend a lot of my time in the nets trying to hit sixes,” David told reporters this week.
“It’s about putting pressure on the bowler and recognising the right situations for when you can try that in a game. There might be different pitches or grounds that suit power hitting for particular bowlers, you got to pick those moments. It’s about maintaining confidence for the season and trusting your ability which you can get through training, lots of practice, make sure you’re hitting the ball well and you can take that into the game and be fresh-minded.”
The Mumbai Indians, who bizarrely dropped David early in the tournament, finished bottom of the IPL ladder with four wins from 14 matches.
They lost all six games that David didn’t feature in this season.