Australia look to Singapore-born 'overall package' in T20 defence
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Australia are banking on a rookie power-hitter born in Singapore to help them defend the Twenty20 World Cup on home turf later this month.
Lanky right-hander Tim David had been knocking on the door with a series of blistering performances on the global T20 circuit, including in the Indian Premier League and England's T20 Blast.
David has become one of the most sought-after finishers in the game and Australia skipper Aaron Finch said it was a no-brainer to include him in the squad for a home tournament where conditions are expected to favour batsmen.
"The form that he's been in over the last couple of years has been outstanding," Finch said of David, 26, whose rise really started last year when he had a breakout season with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League.
"His power, first and foremost, is really impressive, but he's the overall package with some handy off-spin overs and good in the field (too)."
David, who stands 1.96m (6ft 5in) tall, played 14 T20s for Singapore but was eligible to switch allegiance because he has Australian parents.
He was in line to feature for Australia earlier this year when Sri Lanka toured for five T20s, but he had already been picked up by Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League when he got the call from chief selector George Bailey.
"At no point there was being picked for Australia really something I was thinking about... because I just thought they'd won the World Cup three months ago and that was still a really strong team," he said recently.
Ultimately, Bailey decided it would be better for David to play in Pakistan rather than potentially carry the drinks for Australia.
It proved a good call with David building his reputation further by whacking 278 runs at a phenomenal 194.40 strike rate in 11 matches.
It led to him being picked up by Mumbai Indians in the 2022 Indian Premier League auction, where he faced 86 balls and smashed 16 of them for six.
- Right at home -
He finally made his Australian debut last month in India, hitting a maiden T20 half-century off just 25 balls.
"It's nice to start off well in a new team," David said. "It's nice to feel like I've landed on my feet.
"Just being around a lot of the guys that you're playing against or playing with (before), so it doesn't feel like a massive step up."
Australia's problem is where to fit him into a side that, bar spinner Mitchell Swepson, is unchanged from the one that beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win the World Cup last year in the United Arab Emirates.
Finch and fellow veteran David Warner appear certain to open the batting, with Mitchell Marsh at three.
That leaves four, five, six and seven, which in the UAE were filled by Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
Finch has given few clues on who could make way for their opening game against New Zealand in Sydney on October 22, but confirmed David would feature in the middle order if selected.
"He's become really consistent in that role which is really tough to do for a finisher-type player, a power-hitter," Finch said. "I think that would be the role. There's plenty of flexibility in our squad though."
Despite Swepson being dropped Australia still have three spinners on hand in Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar and Maxwell.
Their pace attack is again led by Test captain Pat Cummins and fellow stalwarts Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, along with Kane Richardson.