Cameron Green has overcome a painful pre-Ashes scare in the Indian Premier League semi-final before his exciting IPL adventure was finally ended in Ahmedabad.
Mumbai Indians’ star Aussie allrounder was for a while on Friday at the centre of worrying scenes at the Narendra Modi Stadium when he was struck in the arm by a short, sharp 146kph ball from Hardik Pandya in the second over, which forced him to retire hurt during their defeat against Gujarat Titans.
But amid fevered speculation that he might have suffered a break close to his elbow after the blow proved so powerful that it appeared to leave an imprint on his forearm close to his elbow, there was relief for all Australian observers as Green was passed fit to return to the crease at the fall of a later wicket.
Thankfully, Green didn’t look in too much discomfort when he returned to clout a couple of sixes but when finally bowled for 30 off 20 balls by Josh Little, his impressive IPL debut season was done and dusted, along with that of all the Australian contingent at this year’s edition.
Ultimately, it was the new superstar Shubman Gill who completely stole the show from Mumbai’s last three Australians left in the tournament – Green, Tim David and Jason Behrendorff – with a matchwinning century that stamped his place as the new darling of the Indian game.
Behrendorff and Green went for 63 wicketless runs between them and David’s one major unfortunate contribution was to drop Gill at mid-on when he was on 30.
Green also dropped a difficult return chance off the man he’ll soon be facing in the World Test Championship final.
They proved difficult chances, but were extraordinarily costly misses.
For by the time David did finally catch him, Gill had motored elegantly to 129, including 10 effortless sixes and seven fours off just 60 balls, in what was one of the landmark innings the league has witnessed. In front of 75,000 enthralled fans too.
His third ton of the season propelled reigning champions Titans to 3-233 off their 20 overs, which never looked attainable after fast bowler Mohit Sharma also went to work, taking 5-10.
It gave Gujarat a 62-run win with 10 balls to spare and set up a final on Sunday against Chennai Super Kings on the same ground.
“The over I hit three sixes is where I felt it was my day,” Gill smiled. “I wanted to maximise scoring. Belief is more important. Helps when you’re coming off a good international season. This is my best innings so far in the IPL.”
Once Green returned for his second spell at the crease, his forearm covered with tape but still not wearing an arm guard, Mumbai still had some hope as the dazzling Suryakumar Yadav made 61 off 38, yet Sharma clean bowled him, ending their chances .
Healy could ditch opening role
Australia could be forced to blood an entirely new-look opening combination in next month’s women’s Ashes Test with Alyssa Healy seriously considering dropping down the order to manage workloads.
Healy has opened for Australia in the last three Tests dating back to 2019, taking on the role she has regularly occupied in the white-ball game.
But the vice-captain is wary of the impact keeping wicket will have on her in Test cricket.
Also on Healy’s mind is she was dismissed for a pair in her last Test against England in Canberra, on both occasions to the now-retired Katherine Brunt.
“I have given it a lot of thought. And it has been up for discussion for a little bit of time,” Healy told AAP.
“In the last Test match, look I put my hand up and I wanted to do it. It was my decision to open the batting and I thought it would be a great place to bat.
“I probably underestimated the work I would have to do in the field, not having to do that all the time.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if the time comes and they want me to open, okay great. “But I’d happily slide down to the middle and whack a Dukes ball around.”
Healy is the only player in the men’s or women’s game to wicketkeep and open the batting on a regular basis, with the last being Kamran Akmal for Pakistan in 2007.
Asked if her preference was to now drop down the order and bat at No.6 or No.7 like she did when she debuted in Test cricket, Healy said that was the case.
“It was tough. I’m not trying to have a cop out, but it was really tough mentally to open and keep,” Healy said.
“Knowing what the conditions could potentially be like in England, the Dukes ball swings around a little bit longer.
“The chances behind the stumps are going to be really important. So doing that job well will be my priority.
“And wherever I have to slot in with the bat, that will be great.”
Healy is aware the decision will be a long-term one, with Australia to play three Tests in the next eight months and a new opening combination already looming following Rachael Haynes’ retirement last year.
Beth Mooney is favoured to step up and take Haynes’ spot at Trent Bridge on June 22 when the Test matches open the multi-format Ashes series having filled in at the top previously.
Rising star Phoebe Litchfield would then be an option to make her Test debut opening after an impressive start to her international white-ball career last summer.
Ashes countdown: Days to go …
The number of Ashes Tests played by England’s legendary swing bowler, Sydney Barnes, who managed to dismiss Aussie batters 106 times from 1901-12.
On This Day …
May 27 – Don Bradman set yet another record on the 1938 Ashes tour when he brought up his 1000th first-class run for the season during a century in a tour game against Hampshire, beating the mark set the previous year by Walter Hammond by one day.