Tim David will make his long-awaited Australian debut on Tuesday evening, with the “terrifying” T20 globetrotter lining up for the series opener against India in Mohali.
Injury setbacks for incumbent all-rounders Marcus Stoinis (side strain) and Mitchell Marsh (ankle) have opened the door for David’s inclusion, which comes a few weeks out from the T20 World Cup.
The 26-year-old joins an illustrious list of cricketers, headlined by David Warner, to make their Australian debut before playing any first-class matches.
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David, who becomes Australia’s 103rd men’s T20I cricketer, received his maiden cap from Hobart Hurricanes teammate Matthew Wade.
“It’s great to see Tim David get his chance; he’s been right up there with the best in the world,” Cummins told reporters in a video conference on Sunday.
“Batting in the middle order of T20 cricket is a really tough spot … It’s really hard to be consistent coming in when there’s spin bowlers or at the end of the innings.
“He’s been fantastic … hopefully he can continue doing what he’s been doing in the domestic leagues around the world.
“I think he’s an X-factor. He just goes about it slightly differently, so look forward to it.”
David, who previously represented Singapore in 14 T20 internationals, has been one of the most destructive short-format cricketers over the past 12 months, plying his trade as a specialist finisher in several domestic tournaments including the Pakistan Super League, Caribbean Premier League and The Hundred.
The powerful right-hander, who was born in Singapore and raised in Western Australia, was purchased by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping AU$1.53 million at this year’s IPL auction, earning larger bids than Australian superstars Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh.
Earlier this month, David was named in Australia’s 15-player squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup campaign on home soil, which gets underway in October.
His ability to clear the boundary rope without soaking up deliveries at the crease is invaluable; the possibility of David and Glenn Maxwell joining forces in the middle-order is a mouth-watering prospect for any cricket fan.
“One of the rare things he has which there isn‘t a whole lot of in Australia is just raw power,” Maxwell told reporters at the SCG on Wednesday.
“He‘s able to muscle the ball, much in the same way Stoinis and Mitch Marsh do it. He’s probably developed his game a little bit over the last two years where he’s got a bit more off-side (shots) so he’s not a one-dimensional hitter, he’s able to clear the boundary in different areas.
“He does it against spin and quicks which is something that’s really impressive and something that impressed me during the IPL as well watching him go about his business.”
On Sunday, Cricket Australia shared footage of David murdering cricket balls during a net session in Mohali, with the “terrifying” clip registering more than 260,000 views in less than 24 hours on Twitter.
As seen in the video, David rotates his grip slightly when on the attack, angling the bat face towards the sky to increase his chances of launching the ball into the crowd.
David has gained national selection through an unconventional route as a T20 freelancer, but that could soon become the norm in world cricket.
Unlike most of his teammates, he is not contracted with Cricket Australia or any of the state associations, but he has signed with the Hurricanes for this summer’s Big Bash League.
“He‘s obviously plied his trade around the world in different leagues,” Australian paceman Mitchell Starc told reporters at the SCG on Wednesday.
“Think we‘ll see more and more players (emerge) in that fashion. Certainly the next generation I’m sure we’ll see it more and more with more opportunities in different leagues, that’s just the way cricket seems to be heading at the minute.
“I‘m much the same as (the public), I’ve seen him on TV. Obviously that power and what he brings to the table to any team he plays for, and now he has a chance to do that on the international stage.”
Speaking to reporters in July, the legendary Ricky Ponting backed David to flourish in Australian colours, comparing the uncapped cricketer to a former teammate.
“He’s been incredible in almost every tournament that he’s played around the world in the last 12-18 months,” the Hurricanes’ Head of Strategy said.
“He’s a very good, very dangerous T20 player.
“If I was a selector, I would love to have someone like that in my team … he’s an out-and-out match-winner. He’s the sort of player that can actually win you a World Cup.
“He actually reminds me a bit of Andrew Symonds back in the 2003 World Cup. You know that if you get him in and give him an opportunity that they’re a chance of winning the tournament for you.
“I know there’s some other great world-quality players in the middle order for Australia, but probably none of them boasts a resume as good as Tim’s over the last two years.”
If David can replicate his explosive form in India this week, national selectors would be tempted to squeeze him into the Australian XI for the T20 World Cup at the expense of Stoinis or Steve Smith.
The first T20 between India and Australia gets underway at Inderjit Singh Bindra Stadium on Tuesday evening, with the first ball scheduled for 11.30pm AEST.
Originally published as ‘X-factor’: Tim David becomes Australia’s 103rd men’s T20I cricketer