Melbourne, Australia (February 1st, 2024): Newly crowned Big Bash Player of the Year Matt Short could find himself in unfamiliar territory when he makes his long-awaited international debut on home soil against the West Indies on Friday.

While the Victorian batter has carved his BBL career opening for the Adelaide Strikers, he appears set to play a middle-order finishing role in the opening ODI at the MCG. This represents a shift in roles for Short, who has played exclusively in the top order in his 9 international appearances to date.

Despite preferring the top order, Short remains committed to contributing wherever needed. “To be honest, I feel more confident at the top,” he admits, “but they’re keeping options open, trying guys in different positions. Starting in the middle opens a chance to bat higher later.”

He recognizes the opportunity presented by an evolving Australian ODI lineup following the David Warner retirement and World Cup success. “It’s not a full-strength team, but every chance is big, especially with the T20 World Cup coming up. Any opportunity, whether middle or top order, I have to grab it.”

Matt Short with his BBL Player of the Tournament trophy (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)

For guidance, Short turned to Marcus Stoinis, who successfully adjusted from BBL opener to middle-order finisher for Australia. “He’s a good example, dominating at the top in BBL but adapting internationally. He changed his game, finishing innings well. I spoke to him about that role change, but it’s still about having that positive mindset.”

World Cup winners Travis Head and Josh Inglis will open the batting, with Cameron Green at number three. Interim captain Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne likely occupy the four and five positions, leaving Short’s exact slot dependent on all-rounder Aaron Hardie’s position.

The match marks a momentous occasion for Short, coinciding with his BBL award win and the announcement of his first child with partner Madi Wilson. Joining him in debuting for Australia are fast bowlers Lance Morris and Xavier Bartlett, while fellow Victorians Jake Fraser-McGurk and Will Sutherland await their turn as injury replacements.

This revamped Australian ODI team offers an exciting glimpse into the future, and Matt Short, embracing his new role, embodies the team’s willingness to adapt and experiment. The opening match at the MCG promises to be a captivating watch, showcasing the potential of Australia’s next generation of stars.

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