John Hastings, Australian paceman, admits he’s a “touch underdone” but that hasn’t stopped him from grabbing an unexpected opportunity in Australia’s One-Day International team in Sri Lanka.
The 30-year-old was in Sri Lanka preparing for next month’s Twenty20 series but suddenly found himself in Australia’s 50-over team after paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile was sent home with a back injury.
Finishing with the figures of 2 for 41 during a typical lionhearted display, Hastings was a solid contributor in Australia’s two-wicket victory in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. The performance was made even more notable considering the Victorian battled shoulder problems late last year and then broke down with an ankle injury during the Indian Premier League in April, which ruled him out of Australia’s one-day series in the West Indies in June.
Hastings, who has played 21 ODIs and a sole Test match in 2012, admitted he wasn’t at peak fitness but relished the opportunity to make his international comeback. “There was no doubt I’m probably still a touch under done,” Hastings said on Monday (August 29). “But I still felt like the ball was coming out well and it was going where I wanted it to go, which is probably the main thing that you lose when you don’t play matches.
“I felt ready and I wouldn’t have said I was if I wasn’t so I got out there and gave it my all, as I tend to always do,” he added.
Hastings said he had done a lot of rehabilitation in a bid to make a successful comeback after a horror injury run. “I’ve done a lot of hard work over this last four or five months and haven’t played since the IPL,” Hastings said. “I felt a bit sore two weeks into the IPL and had a stress fracture in my left ankle and it was going to be the same recovery time.
“So the doctors thought it would be a good idea to get in there and shave a couple of spurs off the front of the ankle,” he added. “It wasn’t a major operation but it was enough for me to be out for a little while.”
Hastings, a bustling broad-shouldered paceman, thrives on accuracy and nagging away at batsmen. He backed his methodology to succeed in all conditions, including on subcontinental pitches which traditionally are slower and favour turn.
“I honestly believe in a little bit of cross seam and a few cutters, not too slow, and if you can just get that ball in the right area it’s quite hard to hit you back down the ground over your head,’ he said. “So I think the length is the key, and just bowling at the stumps.
“Because if they want to take a risk, more often than not you’re going to be at the stumps,” he added. “It really is pretty simple, but that’s what I live and die by.”