Billy Stanlake soaks in fast bowling skills in presence of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins

Billy Stanlake counts himself fortunate to be able to train in the presence of Australia’s top three fast bowlers as he prepares himself for the A team tour of India starting this month.

The hulking Queensland pacer, who has played six ODIs and 12 T20Is, is part of the Australia A squad currently training for a week at Brisbane’s Bupa National Centre. Joining the squad are the potent trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood  and Pat Cummins who are all on the way back to full strength after being sidelined by injuries.

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Stanlake, 23, has said that being around the trio has been a big source of inspiration as he seeks to make an impact for Australia A in India.

“It’s great to get amongst them, and around some boys of the same height,” he said. “It’s always great to feed off guys like that – they’re terrific bowlers and for me, someone who is just breaking into the international system, it’s always great to feed off them and get some ideas and see their experiences as well.”

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Stanlake was elevated to frontline bowler during Australia’s recent tour of England, where they were whitewashed in five ODIs, and a T20I trio-series in Zimbabwe also featuring Australia. In England, he claimed six wickets in four ODIs while in Zimbabwe he finished the second-highest wicket-taker with seven from five games. In one match, Stanlake claimed career-best figures of 4/8.

He too has had his share of injuries since winning an Australia contract two years ago. During the IPL a few months ago, Stanlake had to return home after a broken finger. Now fully fit, he is geared up for the tour of India which encompasses a 50-over tri-series with India A and South Africa A.

“It’s more so the line you bowl. I think you’ve got to be a little bit straighter over there,” he said. “I’ve always tried to bowl that hard length as I do over her in Australia but it’s more bowling a little bit more straight in those conditions. That’s the great thing about going to all different parts of the world, it’s always different. For me, it’s a great challenge going over there and that’s something I always enjoy, having a good challenge.”

While today Cricket Australia announced that Hazlewood and Cummins need more time to rehabilitate their lumbar bone stress injuries and will not tour the UAE to play Pakistan in two Test matches in October, Starc has been passed fit for selection.