Cricket news: Matt Renshaw on being back in Australia squad and having Usman Khawaja as ‘life coach’

Matthew Renshaw is back in the Australia squad but finding his way there has been difficult. He opens darker times and is inspired by Usman Khawaja.

Matthew Renshaw’s return to Australia is a credit to his resilience and the skillful mentoring of Usman Khawaja.

The Queensland batsman retired completely from cricket in 2019 and needed a mental break after his ax from the Test team but has returned as a more mature person.

His state captain Khawaja struggled to defeat Renshaw when he first burst onto the scene aged 20, but now they are inseparable.

Renshaw describes Khawaja as his “life coach” and this bond will now help the new father in his second coming as a Test cricketer at the age of 26.

“In the beginning, Uzzie didn’t like me at all, so we’ve definitely come a long way,” Renshaw told the Brisbane Heat website.

“I was young and I came in and I just wanted to be Ussie’s friend and I probably tried too hard.

“But once I got to know him a little bit better, we really clicked.

“I joke around that he’s my life coach, he says he never took that role, but it’s just a role you get.

“He’s really turned on and had so many ups and downs to learn from.

“To see him come back to the Australian team and score hundreds of hundreds was quite inspiring.”

Renshaw appears to have a strong chance of returning to the Australian XI in Sydney, but his recall to the squad is a sure sign he could play a key role as a top or mid-range batsman in the forthcoming tour of India, where he can hone his skills against Spin Bowling has had him bookmarked for the last nine months.

The left-hander is an underrated comeback story.

Despite relatively successful first 10 Tests as the opening game in an unstable period for the Australian team, the game prevailed over Renshaw after a county season in his native England and he took a break from the game.

By his own admission, he was too immature for Test cricket.

“My Test debut was six years ago and I can barely remember it, it all happened so quickly and I don’t think I caught it all,” said Renshaw.

“I’m only 20 and have only played a few games of shield cricket, I didn’t really understand the importance of playing Test cricket.

“I walked in with blue eyes and a bushy tail and didn’t really know what was going on.

“More recently I took a break from cricket just before Covid hit.

“I had to rethink why I play cricket. Back then it was all about playing for Australia but I didn’t enjoy my cricket.

“I wasn’t the best person I’ve ever been at the time, I was just frustrated with little things.

“It was important for me to step back and recalibrate my technique and my thoughts.”


After fending off Josh Hazlewood last week, Scott Boland is now being pursued by The Wild Thing in a new fight for survival in Sydney.

A fully fit Hazlewood is expected to return to the Australian bowling attack for Wednesday’s final Test against South Africa, with Lance “The Wild Thing” Morris the new threat to Boland’s place on the team as the fast bowling beast enters Debut at Jagd die SKG.

In the other pick battle, second spinner Ashton Agar appears to be the front runner to edge out fellow comeback Matt Renshaw and replace Cameron Green in the XI as part of a possible batting order reshuffle that would put wicketkeeper Alex Carey up to 6th .

But all eyes will be on the showdown between the utterly dependable Boland and the skinny Tearaway Morris, who, with his ability to shake cages at 150mph, would be the worthy replacement for the injured Mitchell Starc.

Morris has promised to live up to his nickname if chosen.

“That’s probably part of my game that got me this far – to be a little bit different,” Morris told

“I don’t want to be the Channel bowler who bowls outside all day waiting for the batter to make a mistake.

“I want to raise them up a little bit and intimidate them and blow them out.”

It would be tough to drop Boland with his career bowling average of 12.21, but the Victorian no longer has the protection of his home ground, the MCG, as an added factor in his favor.

Morris was called up to the Australia squad to shadow Starc earlier this summer and trainer Andrew McDonald, following Starc’s finger injury during the Boxing Day Test, was emphatic in suggesting that Morris now has a strong chance of making a debut with the SCG, even given Hazlewood’s expected return of takes into account a secondary burden.

“We’re always trying to add to the attack… we see Lance Morris coming into the squad, there’s clearly a role for him should Mitchell Starc go down,” McDonald told SEN.

“So maybe he looks like he’ll get a chance in Sydney based on the balance of that attack.”

Morris revealed his ‘Wild Thing’ moniker came when he was a young club cricketer in Perth and a team-mate pulled a prank in which he tampered with a whiteboard notification about the players’ upcoming medical appointments.

“I put my name in. He (teammate) got in there, scrubbed it off, wrote ‘Wild Thing,'” Morris said on the Unplayable podcast.

“I went to the doctor the next day and he said, ‘Wild thing? You wrote that?’ And I said, ‘No, I promise I didn’t write that. I don’t call myself the wild thing.

“It pretty much stuck from that point on.

“I stink a bit, but the more you resist, the more it sticks.”

Selectors have two options for replacing Green, the man described as “irreplaceable” by captain Pat Cummins.

The first is to draw on Agar’s pedigree, who scored 98 points in the Test debut at Trent Bridge on the 2013 Ashes, and back up the spinner to bat at No. 7 and round out a five-man specialist bowling attack to make his way to prepare for his likely selection at the February test tour of India.

The second option is to prioritize hitting and play Renshaw in 6th place and play with just four bowlers – either Nathan Lyon, Agar and two quicks or three pacemakers and the one spinner in Lyon.

With Green out, Hazlewood returning from a side load, Morris potentially making a Test debut and Agar potentially making his first Test ever on home soil – the safest bet would be to go with the safety of five bowlers.

If Renshaw was selected in the XI, it may also raise pecking order questions, as Marcus Harris has been in the squad as a backup hitter all summer.

Originally posted as Matthew Renshaw discusses the return of the Aussie, way back to the Test Team Cricket news: Matt Renshaw on being back in Australia squad and having Usman Khawaja as ‘life coach’

Ryan Sederquist

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