Sutherland's Ben Dwarshuis happy to be the bolter in Australia's Twenty20 squad ahead of international debut

Called up: Sutherland all-rounder Ben Dwarshuis takes a wicket in his final Big Bash League game of the season last Tuesday night. Picture: AAP
Called up: Sutherland all-rounder Ben Dwarshuis takes a wicket in his final Big Bash League game of the season last Tuesday night. Picture: AAP

When Ben Dwarshuis saw he had a missed call from an unknown number last Monday morning he didn’t think much of it.

That was until he listened to the voicemail.

“It was definitely one of the better starts I’ve had to a Monday morning,” he said.

The phone call was from Australian Twenty 20 selector Mark Waugh. And it was good news, with Sutherland’s Dwarshuis chosen to make his international debut as part of Australia’s Twenty20 squad for their international tri-series against England and New Zealand.

“It was a complete shock,” Dwarshuis told the Leader.

“I sort of had the Prime Minister’s XI game as one of the goals I’d had to be selected in that. I thought I might be a chance. Australian selection was completely out of the blue. It’s still sinking in. [My phone] was a little bit non stop, as soon as I’d reply to a message the next one was there. It’s great to have that kind of support from so many people who have been behind me over the years.

“It was all a little bit surreal. It’s what you’re hoping for playing cricket to put your name in front of the selectors and get that call up. I was straight on the phone to my parents and they came out to see me and we had lunch. It was all a bit of a whirlwind. I had training that day and while I was obviously excited I just wanted to get through that last [Big Bash League] game and not let it affect me.”

Adding to his already incredible week, Dwarshuis was bought by Kings XI Punjab for $271,000 in the Indian Premier League auction over the weekend.

While the 23-year-old’s selection has seen Dwarshuis labelled the bolter in the squad, his BBL numbers over the last two seasons show why he was on the radar.

Dwarshuis, from Engadine, took seven wickets in eight BBL matches for the Sydney Sixers this season at an average of 28.86, strike rate of just under 25 and economy rate of just 6.97 runs per over. He has taken wickets in six matches and in four of those he took a wicket in his first over. In the other two matches he took a wicket in his second over. While in last season’s BBL Dwarshuis took 13 wickets in 10 matches at just over 23.5.

But regardless of his outstanding form Dwarshuis is happy to keep the bolter tag.

Ben Dwarshuis in Sutherland colours. Picture: Jane Dyson

Ben Dwarshuis in Sutherland colours. Picture: Jane Dyson

“I think you’re always hoping and optimistic, trying to earn that selection call up,” he said.

“In terms of this particular series it was not on my radar at all. The last two years have been quite successful for myself but I still feel like a bit of bolter. I’m really excited to go in there and try to prove myself.

“The power play bowling I’ve been able to do this season is one of the main things that put my name in front of selectors. The last two years have both been quite good for me. Last year I took more wickets than this year but I’ve pulled my economy back this year so to have an impact in a different way is nice, bowl a little bit quicker and hit the wicket nice and hard, set the tone early for the rest of the innings.” 

Dwarshuis relinquished the captaincy at Sutherland this season to focus on his BBL commitments having also battled back and hamstring injuries. But he is now fitter and stronger than ever, bowling upwards of 145km/h.

He could potentially make his international debut on his home ground with Australia to start the tri-series when they host New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

While Dwarshuis isn’t looking too far ahead, he hopes this will be the first call up of many.

“It means everything. As a young kid I was lucky enough to grow up watching a really strong era, guys like Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, I grew up idolising so many greats,” he said.

“T20 wasn’t around then but to hopefully pull on the Australian colours in any format and play for my country would mean the world to me.

“Obviously it’s good to get a start anywhere. You look at the career path that someone like David Warner has had. He started off as a T20 batsman and he’s grown into a very successful Test batsman. He’s shown it can be done.

“One of my goals is to play in the longer formats for Australia as well. Obviously I need to play Sheffield Shield cricket first one day and limited overs stuff with NSW and perform there before I get a chance.”

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