MELBOURNE: Power-hitter Tim David's selection in the Australian squad for the ICC T20 World Cup in their backyard hasn't come as a surprise for those who had been following his progress ever since he was donning Singapore colours in international cricket.
On Thursday, Cricket Australia (CA) made the decision to include the 26-year-old player in their 15-member squad for their T20 World Cup title defence, a move which caught the cricket fraternity unawares, given that the Kangaroos are not known to include newcomers so early.
Following the cricketer not figuring in Singapore's squads for T20 World Cup Qualifier B and the Challenge League earlier this year, David made the switch to the country he has called home.
His starring role with the Singapore national team brought him into prominence. His strike rate of 158.52 and an average of 46.50 was something that caught the eye, and his devastating hitting in domestic T20 cricket helped him being noticed by the Australian selectors.
Making in excess of 2,000 runs in domestic cricket at a strike rate of 164, and an average of more than 30, David soon emerged as a top choice for a side looking for power hitter. Though the likes of Matthew Wade and Marcus Stoinis had been performing the task quite efficiently, someone like David is likely to add a new dimension to the proceedings.
David could well get the opportunity in Australia's T20 World Cup opener against New Zealand following a breakthrough year in the Big Bash League (2020/21) and his exploits in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Lahore Qalanders.
The 26-year-old David had scores of unbeaten 23 (15 balls) and 64 not out (36 ball) for the Qalandars as he made a forceful first impression. He finished his six-match stint with 180 runs at a strike rate of 167, scoring half of his runs in boundaries -- also hitting more sixes than fours.
He then smashed a 95-ball 152 in domestic cricket in the Netherlands, before playing in the T20 Blast and The Hundred in the UK, making an impact with the bat and while fielding, running out Liam Livingstone to help the Southern Brave claim the inaugural title.
His performances across the world, including in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), saw him emerge as a hot property in the Indian Premier League with half-a-dozen teams fighting to get him in the mega auction.
Finally, Mumbai Indians dished out Rs 8.25 crore to secure him. The smashing hitter repaid the faith, joining Andre Russell and Brendon McCullum as the only players to make 100 runs at a strike rate of over 200 in an IPL season.
It's David's awesome boundary-hitting power that is the most valuable asset of his cricket, with the 26-year-old hitting a boundary every 4.6 balls across T20 and The Hundred. He also has the highest strike rate of any player in T20 cricket to bat at No.5 in the order or below in the last two years.
Speaking following his selection in the Australia squad, David said, "It (getting into the Australia side) probably hasn't been a sole focus; it's just naturally evolved into that way.
My first opportunity after being released by Western Australia was to go and play for Singapore, so went and did that then came back at the opportunity to go to the (Hobart) Hurricanes.
"From there the only thing I was going to do in professional cricket was play T20, so you focus on those skills and I have had more opportunities from there. It may look unorthodox but I've been out playing a lot of T20 cricket and really stoked to be getting to this point."
Australian great Ricky Pointing had recently pointed out that David will provide superb solidity and firepower in the middle and late order and should be in the squad for the T20 World Cup.
"If you ended up with, let's say, (Glenn) Maxwell, Stoinis, Wade and (Tim) David in that middle order there is a really formidable late-order striking team that no bowling team would want to play against. I think he's the sort of player that could actually win the Australian team a World Cup in that finishing sort of role."
"He's probably in career-best form right now, and when you've got guys that are at the peak of their powers, I think you just have to play them."
David will don Australia colours in late September when the side travels to India for three T20Is, and at home in the bilateral series against the West Indies and England before the team gears up to defend the ICC T20 World Cup trophy with the opening match on October 22.