Australia vs South Africa: Lance Morris pace ready for international stage, says Hilton Cartwright

Lance Morris’ WA teammate Hilton Cartwright believes the “wild thing” could be an effective test match enforcer, writes LACHLAN MCKIRDY.

According to West Australian teammate Hilton Cartwright, Lance Morris possesses a “fucking scary” combination of speed, endurance and accuracy that would disrupt any international lineup.

Should Morris follow in Cartwright’s footsteps as a West Australian to debut in a Sydney Test, Cartwright believes the bright lights of international cricket will not discourage his State team-mate.

“I really think without being biased [that] He’s the fastest bowler in Australian cricket,” says Cartwright. “It’s going 152 km/h and it looks really effortless. You walk away thinking, “That was a slow spell,” then the flash gun says, “151, 150, 152.” That’s also in his 30th about the day. It is wonderful.

“He’s obviously practicing bumpers because that’s his role on the WA side. He’ll say ‘Hilts, around the wicket’ and you know you might poke her in the ribs.”

Regarding the experience of facing Morris for the first time, Cartwright offers two words for South Africa’s batters: “Damn scary.”

“He has the ability to go around the wicket and still hit the top of the off stump,” Cartwright continues. “You can’t just hide her because you know he’s into money.”

There is a feeling of deja vu at this year’s SCG New Year’s Test and 2017 edition against Pakistan.

It was the last time the Australians were tricked into picking two spinners in Sydney, with Stephen O’Keefe being awarded partner Nathan Lyon on the occasion as they worked on combinations ahead of a test tour of India. Ashton Agar plays that role this time.

That match also witnessed Matthew Renshaw’s only Test century to date – a brilliant 184 – which reportedly cemented him as Australia’s opener for the future. Renshaw returns to the squad after a lengthy absence from the international stage.

And the Sydney Test six years ago featured a West Australian bolter, albeit with different skills than Morris, assuming the fast bowler becomes Test player No. 465 against South Africa this week.

That player was Cartwright, an up-and-coming all-rounder who has only played one friendly since debuting against Pakistan. Cartwright, now 30 and on BBL duty with the Melbourne Stars, reflects on his Testing experience and laments he didn’t take the opportunity.

“I was pretty naïve when I played Test cricket,” he says. “If I had my time again, I would pick David Warner’s brain, Steve Smith’s brain. While I was there, I just did my thing.

“Looking back on that, I wish I had asked a lot more questions of guys of this caliber.”

Cartwright’s selection caused a stir at the time. His top-flight bowling average was over 70, but there was enough potential for selection to hope he could become the next big all-rounder.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for Cartwright at the Test level and another West Australian, Cam Green, has since taken over the all-rounder position briefly held by his State teammate.

“Greeny is a great act, we always knew we wouldn’t have him for long,” says Cartwright.

He continues: “If you come [to the Test arena], it comes to mind pretty quickly, you don’t expect it. Not to say I’m expecting anything [now]but you always have this openness about wanting to go back there and what you’re trying to do to get there.

“That makes it difficult because you know you’ve been there, you know you’re good enough.”

Cartwright has shown progress in red ball cricket over the past two years.

His 601 runs in the 2021-22 Shield season for Western Australia was his best return in six years. He also scored multiple centuries in one season for the second time in his career.

The season ended with Western Australia raising the shield and Cartwright feeling he had made progress with technicalities in his hitting that had been holding him back.

If there’s a future where Cartwright plays international cricket again, he knows it must be on the back of compelling batting form. He cites his former WA teammate Tim David’s promotion to the national team as a sign the selectors are always watching.

But that’s not a priority at the moment.

“Of course the goal is to get higher awards. If you’re a professional athlete, I think that’s everyone’s goal,” he says. “We saw Tim David, he enlightened the white ball world massively. I think he’s a poster child for the way the selectors go about their business.

“But I think it’s just about being consistent in what I do and how I approach each game. How I perform is the bottom line, but don’t get caught up too much and if I don’t perform.”

Lachlan McKirdy

Lachlan McKirdycontent producer

Lachlan McKirdy is a content producer for CODE Sports focused on cricket, NRL and Olympic sports. Lachlan has a passion for storytelling and enjoys sharing the incredible stories of athletes performing on the national and international stage. Australia vs South Africa: Lance Morris pace ready for international stage, says Hilton Cartwright

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