As the Australian cricket team prepares for their upcoming test series against Pakistan, the rest of the nation is competing in the domestic one-day cup competition, also known as the JLT One-Day Cup. New South Wales medium pacer Sean Abbott has made an early bid for national selection ahead of Australia’s summer of cricket after bagging consecutive five-wicket hauls against Victoria and Tasmania.
Sean Abbott’s recent spike in form with the ball may have caught the eye of national selectors after the 26-year-old attempted to breathe some life into what seemed to be a near-empty New South Wales corpse in this year’s JLT One-Day Cup. A major reason for the Blues downfall in this format of the games stems from the fact that they’ve lost two quality batsmen in Ed Cowan and Nic Maddinson who’s made the move to Victoria this year. Even the bowling attack seems to be a little bland without the likes of Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon who’ve been regulars in completion for the past two seasons, not to mention superstar-duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood who are more often than not representing Australia. After four games, New South Wales sit on the bottom of the table with just one win to their name and a rather-dismal NRR (Net Run Rate).
A rampant Victoria led by a dominant Cameron White at No. 3 who went on to score 123 off 139 deliveries single-handedly broke the back of the Blues. Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb was quick to inflict more pain on their opposition with a free flowing 89 as a total of 300 was on the horizon. Sean Abbott finally dismissed White in the 43rd over which led to a string of wickets for the Blues seamer, finishing the innings with figures of 5/70. After dismissing Victorian opener Seb Gotch for a first-ball duck, Abbott looked extremely threatening before the floodgates were opened and all hell broke loose. It was by no means a memorable bowling performance from Abbott, but his persistence with the ball eventually paid off, however the same couldn’t be said about New South Wales.
Another substandard-batting performance from the Blues left them little margin for error against Tasmania in their following match. Abbott picked up right where he left off against Victoria as the Blues spearhead trapped Tigers wicketkeeper Matthew Wade in front lbw as the umpire’s finger was raised. This time around, Abbott was able to extract a second wicket inside the opening ten overs after finding the edge of Jake Doran’s bat through to the keeper. Tasmania were rapidly losing control of the run chase, and Sean Abbott was able to pounce yet again as he made it a trifecta in the eighth over claiming the wicket of Ben McDermott for 28. That wicket saw Abbott single-handedly dismiss the Tigers top three batsmen, setting up a maiden-victory for the Blues in this year’s JLT One-Day Cup. He attained his second five-wicket haul in a row (5/43), funnily enough Abbott had never picked up the magical-five prior to the tournament.
It’s hard to hide after back-to-back five-wicket hauls, but in Abbott’s case he’s got some extremely stiff competition in order to win a spot in either the T20I or ODI team. Australia plays Pakistan in a three-game T20 series in October followed by a three-game ODI series against South Africa closely followed by a three-game T20 series against India on home soil. After the test series against India spanning from the 6th of December to the 7th of January, Australia will host them in another three-match ODI series. If Abbott can keep up this type of form for the remainder of the JLT Cup, he’s got a good chance of breaking into the Australian T20I and ODI squad.
Abbott has represented Australia in three T20I’s and just a single ODI against Pakistan back in 2014.