Stoic: Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja during the third Test against South Africa. Photo: Morne de KlerkHe demonstrated some vital Test match batting attributes on his debut – patience and the ability to survive in difficult circumstances being chief among them – but Matt Renshaw is hopeful he “stops all the doubters saying I can’t hit the ball off the square” when he makes a first appearance for Australia at his home ground this week.
The opener’s Queensland captain Usman Khawaja said after Australia’s win in the third Test against South Africa that there was far more to Renshaw’s game than defence after the 20-year-old anchored a successful run chase on the fourth day in Adelaide.
Renshaw was unbeaten on 34 from 137 balls in Australia’s second innings there, and under lights in the first innings was undefeated through a tricky night session. But despite securing a much-needed win in his first Test outing there were questions in some quarters about his slow scoring.
He hopes they will be dispelled when the opportunity presents itself, potentially at the Gabba in the first Test against Pakistan which begins with the pink ball on Thursday.
“I haven’t really had the opportunity to show the free scoring [part of my game],” Renshaw told TAB radio on Monday. “I was more just trying to not get out really. Hopefully I can get that at some point and stop all the doubters saying I can’t hit the ball off the square.”
A tall and powerfully built left-handed Queenslander, albeit one born in Yorkshire and who arrived in the state via New Zealand, Renshaw has been compared to Matthew Hayden. Given his tender age it’s not surprising that he admits he didn’t grow up idolising the iconic ex-Test opener; he was, after all, only 12 when Hayden retired.
“Everyone keeps drawing these comparisons,” Renshaw said. “I’m still trying to work out whether I do bat like him. It’s nice to be known as someone who does bat like Matt Hayden because he’s got a tremendous record and if I can be anything like him it would be pretty special.”
Due to a knee injury Renshaw sat out Queensland’s opening Sheffield Shield contest against NSW under lights at the Gabba in October but is wary of what to expect in day-night conditions at the venue.
“I think it’s the swing … it swings at varying points, it’s not that consistent,” he said. “A ball will swing maybe one out of six and that ball will hoop. It’s about being ready for that one.”