A YOUNG Aussie quick is catching eyes and claiming wickets in the Indian Premier League. CHRIS de KRETSER reports from the Punjab:
WHILE MANY of our top cricketers put the ball-tampering controversy out of their minds and plunder the riches of the Indian Premier League, it is an unheralded Aussie from the West who has taken the spotlight as the lucrative twenty20 tournament gets into full swing.
Fast bowler Andrew Tye has been proving a handful for the plethora of batting superstars trying to make an impression in the 11th season of the IPL.
His mixture of bounce, pace and knuckle balls delivered from the height of his giant frame is bamboozling batsmen in India’s pioneering version of our Big Bash.
Last week Tye had a brief hold on the prestigious Purple Cap which is awarded to the league’s leading wicket-taker.
He handed it over to young Mumbai spinner Mayank Markande before getting another chance to bowl in the lopsided tournament fixture.
But Tye’s early form with the ball has put him in the forefront of challengers for the prestigious cap.
What has made his success stand out even more is that he is the only paceman in the running at this stage against a trio of spinners.
His ability to mix his deliveries and change his pace has been trend-setting.
Already several of the world-renowned pacemen playing in the IPL say that their stock balls are now slow deliveries with the odd thunderbolt sent down as a surprise.
That includes Kiwi left-arm pacer Trent Boult – the man who recently skittled England for one of its lowest totals in a Test match.
Tye’s performances with the ball – especially in the crucial powerplay overs and at the death – have been largely responsible for his team, the Punjab Kings XI, being a surprise leader after six rounds of the competition.
They have also been helped by offering an IPL reprieve to twenty20 outcast Chris Gayle and he has paid them back in kind already.
The Kings XI also has three other Australians on their roster – batsman Aaron Finch, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and retired Test fast bowler Mitchell Johnson.
The new vagaries of the twenty20 game this season has meant that Johnson hasn’t been chosen to get on the park.
But Tye’s success certainly should give Australian selectors a boost for the upcoming World Cup.
While much faith has been placed on the shoulders of the Test trio – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins – Tye has the bowling wiles made for the short form of the game.
And waiting in the wings with Tye is another similar lanky type, Billy Stanlake, who has also shown out in the IPL but is presently on the injury list.
Author: Chris de Kretser
CHRIS de KRETSER was founding editor of The Sunday Sun and the first sports editor of The Herald Sun. He was also night editor and sports editor of The Sun and publisher of Sports Weekly magazine. He was Deputy Olympics Editor of the Herald Sun during the Sydney Games, editor of MX, picture editor of The Herald Sun and Sports Confidential columnist.