All-rounder Dan Christian has confirmed that he would love nothing more than to represent his country again at the 2021 T20 World Cup.
The 37-year-old has been in career-best form for the Sydney Sixers in this year’s Big Bash, instrumental in their success that finds them at the top of the ladder approaching finals.
He has produced a number of match-winning innings, including a half-century against the Brisbane Heat on Sunday that saw the Sixers get home on the final ball of the innings.
It has led to calls for Christian to make a return to the Australian T20 side ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup to be held in India later this year.
Christian has virtually perfected the role of the middle-order batsman, a position that Australia has struggled to fill in recent years.
He has found a way to keep the strike rate ticking over in the middle part of the innings when often teams can be bogged down with bowling-friendly fielding restrictions.
Christian can also clear the fence as well as anyone as we have seen in this year’s Big Bash.
The 37-year-old is in incredible form and he feels he has unfinished business in the Australian team.
“I would love to play,” Christian said on Monday when asked about playing at the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“I feel like my opportunities for Australia in the past have been limited and I still feel like I’m playing good enough cricket to be able to contribute
“If it came about then that would be fantastic
“It sounds really cliche but I’m trying to focus on winnings games for the Sixers and we’ll see how we go.”
Daniel Hughes, Christian’s captain at the Sixers, has backed the calls for the all-rounder to be brought back into the international fold.
Hughes believes that not only is he performing well with the bat, but Christian is bowling the best he’s ever been.
Add to that, he’s also running around with the enthusiasm of someone at the start of their career.
“I think he wouldn’t look out of place in Australian colours,” Hughes said on Tuesday.
“He’s still playing well enough at the ripe old age of 37 so I think he wouldn’t look out of place at all.
“I think he’s still bowling really well, he’s moving like a 25-year-old in the field and as you said again, he’s the iceman at the end of an innings.
“I definitely think he wouldn’t look out of place in Australian colours.”
There’s been a fascination in recent years in the Australian T20 side to pick batsman out of position and make room for them in the lineup.
Players like D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis who are all formidable openers at domestic level have been made to bat in the middle-order, a position they’re not used to.
As a result, the side often struggles in the middle overs if a set batsman isn’t able to keep the run rate progressing.
Since 2015, Australia has used 16 different players at number six in their T20 batting line up.
Of those, at least seven have been players who are ‘typically’ openers in the Big Bash or in other domestic T20 competitions around the world: Chris Lynn, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Alex Carey and even Shane Watson.
Christian has scored 160 runs at an average of 26.66 for the Sixers so far in BBL10 coming in at number six in the order, impressive numbers.
But it’s the fact that he has scored his runs at a strike rate of 186.04 that should really make national selectors take notice.
By playing in an aggressive manner it means that the Sixers have been able to post large totals. BBL10 is the first time they’ve made a score in the Big Bash greater than 200.
Christian has also had a massive impact with the ball, taking ten wickets at an average of 25.10.
He has also nearly perfected a bowling technique that even some of the best batsmen in the competition like Glenn Maxwell haven’t been able to counteract.
Bowling around the wicket, Christian aims at the feet of the batsmen, takes the pace off and it’s had a massive impact with players seemingly unable to get him away.
It’s a sign that no matter how high-tempo T20 cricket can become, IQ still plays a very important role.
That’s even more true when it comes to a World Cup.
Christian has experience playing in T20 tournaments around the world including in England, India and the Caribbean.
He led Nottingham to the T20 Blast in 2020, his eighth domestic T20 trophy.
It wasn’t like he didn’t contribute either. He took four wickets and hit crucial runs lower down the order to be named player of the match in the final.
As Australia search for their first T20 World Cup, there’s no doubting that the skill and experience Christian brings to the middle order would be an invaluable asset when Australia travel to India in October.
Christian would be 38 by the time the World Cup comes around but age has never been an issue for selectors in the past when it comes to the shortest format of the game.
Brad Hogg was 41 when he was picked to play in the 2012 T20 World Cup on the back of his irresistible form in the Big Bash.
So the case is there. Australia have been longing for someone to fill that gap the middle-order of their T20 lineup.
Dan Christian is that man.