Can Fraser-McGurk be the David Warner of his generation? The numbers say he can
“When you’ve got that sort of talent, you need to be exposed to cricket at the highest level to work it out, and I think Jake can do that. I’m definitely backing him one day to play Test cricket.
“I think he’s someone who can well and truly be fast-tracked through the Australian system, because of the natural talent he’s got, it reminds me a bit of a David Warner sort-of-introduction into Australian cricket. When we saw him at the start I think everyone doubted whether he was going to be good enough to play Test cricket technically.
“But with the talent and skill he had, which I think Jake has got as much talent as what Davey had coming through, then the earlier they can get him into the system and get him playing and letting him work out the best way to have success in all the different formats will be great for Australian cricket.”
Warner was 22 – a year older than Fraser-McGurk is now – when he burst onto the national scene and had already forged a reputation as a controlled power-hitter.
“He made a century recently for his club side against Manly, and he hit nine sixes,” former Cricket NSW high-performance manager Alan Campbell told this masthead in a 2009 interview. “Balls were landing on roofs, car alarms were going off, people walking to the shops were getting injured. They had to chase balls down the road almost to the beach.”
Anyone living near Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide would probably say the same about Fraser-McGurk after he bludgeoned a 29-ball hundred against Tasmania in an interstate one-day match.
It was the fastest one-day century in professional cricket history.
In 2011, Glenn Maxwell recorded the fastest half-century in Australian domestic one-day cricket by clubbing 50 runs from 19 balls.
His innings of 61 from 27 balls, batting at No.8, helped Victoria get home against Tasmania off the final ball of the match.
Maxwell has been mentoring Fraser-McGurk after observing his prowess with the willow.
“No one in Australia is better to watch than Fraser-McGurk,” Maxwell tweeted in December. “Easily the most talented young batter in the country. His potential doesn’t actually have a ceiling.”
If Fraser-McGurk was left-handed, there would be countless comparisons to Warner. However, being a right-handed Victorian has some greats of the game feeling like they are watching a young Maxwell.
“There’s so much Glenn Maxwell in Fraser-McGurk it’s not funny,” said Mark Waugh in Fox Cricket commentary on Tuesday.
The difference between Maxwell and Warner is the latter was a genuine three-format player for Australia.
Like Warner, Fraser-McGurk is showing his flair against the white ball, and it might be performances in shorter formats that lead to higher red ball honours.
While the sample size is too small to accurately predict whether Fraser-McGurk can emulate Warner’s feats there is an audacity and confidence that indicates he is tracking in the right direction.
Fraser-McGurk hasn’t been picked in Australia’s T20 squad for upcoming matches against the West Indies and New Zealand.
Matt Short’s hamstring injury could have paved the way for Fraser-McGurk to come into the T20 side but selectors have called in all-rounder Aaron Hardie.
Fraser-McGurk certainly has work to do in red ball cricket. He averages just 22.39 from 13 first-class matches with a strike rate of 64 (Warner’s first-class strike-rate was 70.76).
With Warner now retired from Tests and Usman Khawaja nearing the exit door, there will be gaps to fill at the top of the Australian order. Fraser-McGurk’s average of 27.80 in this year’s Sheffield Shield season doesn’t make for pretty reading.
Warner hadn’t played a first-class match when he debuted for Australia. His final return of 8786 Test runs at 44.59 with 26 centuries is proof you don’t need to be a red ball specialist from day one.
Fraser-McGurk and Warner played together three times last month for the Dubai Capitals in the UAE’s T20 League, with the youngster twice outscoring Warner.
Fraser-McGurk insists he doesn’t want to just become a T20 mercenary.
“I said to [South Australia coach] Jason Gillespie: ‘I want to be a three-format player for Australia later in my career’,” Fraser-McGurk told cricket.com.au this week.
“That’s my goal, I’m working towards that. That’s the reason why I moved to South Australia … I wanted to get a fresh start.
“But I didn’t think it was going to happen as quick as this and to get one format under my belt now is amazing.”
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