Australia v New Zealand 2016: The innings that made one-day bolter Hilton Cartwright

Steve Smith last month demanded his team show more resilience and in Hilton Cartwright he has been given a player who fits that bill.
Nanjing Night Net

The Zimbabwean-born West Australian all-rounder might not have the greatest set of numbers in the world to demand international selection but there can be no doubting his character.

Cartwright, who is poised to make his international debut in the Chappell-Hadlee series, left his state teammates and coaches in awe last year when he batted not once but twice after tearing a muscle off the bone to save a Sheffield Shield game against Victoria.

Facing a high-class attack including Test duo Peter Siddle and James Pattinson and ODI paceman Scott Boland, Cartwright batted for some 90 minutes to make an unbeaten 27 off 70 balls.

The injury required surgery and ruled him out for more than 10 weeks but won him rave reviews from the dressing room.

“He was very courageous. When you see someone do that, hobble on one leg, you know he has ability and he’s something special,” WA assistant coach and former Test vice-captain Geoff Marsh said.

“For any athlete you couldn’t get any higher praise than what he got after that game; that was a moment in his career we thought we had someone special, who crossed the line to do something for his team. He won’t leave anything out there.”

Despite his bravery, it’s unlikely Cartwright will be a familiar name to many cricket fans other than those who follow the state scene very closely. From 27 domestic one-dayers, Cartwright has not scored a ton or taken a five-wicket haul and averages 26.5 with the bat and 39 with the ball though clearly made a strong impression on selectors with a century for Australia A in September.

“He’s a beautiful player to watch, very elegant, plays all the shots, times the ball beautifully,” Marsh said. “He’s one of those players, you look at the scoreboard and he’s 20 before you know it.”

Ironically for Marsh, the player taking Cartwright’s position in the team is his son Mitchell Marsh. “They joke about it, they’re very similar players,” Marsh said.

Cartwright will be seen as a speculative selection though three years out from a World Cup is as good a time as any to take a punt.

Australian all-rounder James Faulkner did not train on Thursday due to illness.

The Black Caps’ 14-man squad contains only five players from last year’s World Cup final. Among those missing are former captains Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori, who have both retired, while star batsman Ross Taylor is injured.

Pace duo Trent Boult and Tim Southee are back, joined by uncapped quick Lockie Ferguson, who can nudge the 150 km/h barrier.​

“Lockie gives us that point of difference in our attack. He hasn’t played a huge amount up until the past two seasons where he’s got over a lot of injuries,” Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said. “He’s got to an age when those major issues tend to dissipate a bit, when you get to 24 or 25. He’s a strong bowler, he’s certainly quick and I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t play at some stage this series.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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