Cameron Green’s sudden emergence as a three-format player will create plenty of headaches for Cricket Australia over the coming 18 months, with the young all-rounder’s workload set to be pushed to its absolute limit.
Before last week’s T20I series against India in the sub-continent, Green boasted a modest record in the 20-over format, failing to reach fifty in 14 matches.
But the 23-year-old, who was omitted from Australia’s 15-player T20 World Cup squad, proved his versatility by smacking two half-centuries against India’s talented bowling attack to finish as the highest run-scorer of the three-match series.
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Green’s raw power makes him a leading candidate to replace Australian white-ball captain Aaron Finch at the top of the order when the Victorian veteran decides to hang up the boots, potentially after the T20 World Cup.
Australian teammate Josh Hazlewood, the No. 1 ranked T20I bowler in the world, admitted net sessions with Green had become a terrifying ordeal.
“It was a bit scary, actually, the first net session in India, felt like you needed a helmet almost bowling to Cam Green,” he told reporters on Friday morning as CA unveiled NRMA Insurance as its new naming rights sponsor.
“He’s so imposing, such a big guy, full face of the bat back towards you, it’s pretty scary.”
In the space of six days, Green had transformed from a T20 substitute to one of the most sought-after talents ahead of next year’s Indian Premier League Auction.
But Green, who has been susceptible to back injuries throughout his short career, may need to start prioritising certain formats and competitions as workload management becomes a genuine cause of concern. Sunil Gavaskar revealed during the third T20 in India that Cricket Australia were considering blocking Green from putting his hat in the ring of the IPL – something Matthew Hayden blasted.
Due to the sport’s oversaturated calendar and the growth of high-paying domestic T20 leagues, it has become almost impossible for international cricketers to commit to all three formats – particularly all-rounders.
A quick glance at Australia’s fixture list for the next 12 months highlights Green’s dilemma – three ODIs against England, two Tests against the West Indies, three Tests against South Africa, a four-Test tour of India, six ODIs against India and Afghanistan, the World Test Championship final, a five-Test Ashes series, an eight-match white-ball tour of South Africa and a 50-over World Cup in India before the 2023/24 home summer kicks off.
But don’t forget Sheffield Shield, Marsh Cup and Big Bash League fixtures for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers – and who knows, perhaps he’ll be approached for a stint in The Hundred.
Green will need to cut some corners, and it would be unreasonable for CA to prevent the young gun from plying his trade in the IPL, where he’ll presumably be snapped up for a hefty seven-figure sum.
He could earn more dosh in two months of IPL cricket than he’d make in three years on a CA contract.
Green’s international career is still in its infancy, but the tall right-hander has already shown off his budding potential in red and white-ball cricket.
He has received a Player of the Match accolade in all three formats at international level, becoming the first Australian male to achieve the feat before their 24th birthday.
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Australian Test captain Pat Cummins, who also battled injury early in his professional career, said protecting Green from injury is one of his highest priorities.
“It‘s one my first thoughts whenever I bowl him is we don’t want to burn him,” Cummins told reporters.
“Think it‘s been a huge win from the medical side of things to have him play as much cricket as he has over the last couple of years, fortunately he can fall back on his batting even if he’s not bowling.
“Now he’s in and around three formats, it becomes even more important. He’s someone who loves playing, even when he goes back to WA we have to manage that as well. There’s 15 Tests in the next few months plus a World Cup, lots of cricket.
“You can‘t really blame anyone for going in (the IPL). He’s going to have huge demand on him wherever he plays. Decisions will be made, there’s a lot of cricket around.”
Cummins warned that CA will need to be proactive with how it manages Green, a cricketer that’s capable of batting anywhere in the top eight and bowling in excess of 140km/h.
“The world is changing almost every month now as new leagues and opportunities pop up,” he explained.
“We are lucky here in Australia that for all of us players and fans Test cricket is number one, so wherever there is a Test tour on that is where us players want to be, you feel like all the cricket fans are watching.
“But we can‘t take it for granted that will always be the case. Maybe (it’s) the way we structure contracts, manage different players because unfortunately, or fortunately, it’s the reality of the world.”
Green was retained in the Australian squad for next week’s two-match T20 series in Queensland, which gets underway on Wednesday evening.