Voges credits Langer for revival
Adam Voges has credited his state coach, Justin Langer, with turning his form around and helping him fight back into Australia's ODI team two years after he last played for the side. Voges scores his first international century at the MCG on Sunday in Australia's win over West Indies and it was a jubilant moment for Voges, who at 33 felt international cricket had passed him by until his recall for this series.
At the start of the summer he couldn't buy a run, although he was far from the only Western Australia batsman in that situation. Following a tumultuous period that included a disappointing Champions League campaign both on and off the field, the captain, Marcus North, quit and coach, Lachie Stevens, resigned after a round of matches at the MCG in November.
Voges was handed the state captaincy, Langer left his job as Australia's batting coach to mentor Western Australia and things started to turn around. Voges regained his touch during the Big Bash League and then a string of impressive scores for the Warriors in the lead-up to the West Indies series forced the national selectors to consider him again. Back at the MCG in happier circumstances, Voges reflected on how quickly things could turn around.
"We pretty much didn't have a coach, we were bottom of the ladder in both competitions and things weren't going great," Voges said. "It's amazing how quickly things can change around. I think Justin Langer can take a lot of credit for that, not only for the success WA has had in the recent month or so but for my form as well.
"He along with my batting coach Wayne Andrews have just tinkered a little bit with my technique. We did that just before the Big Bash and managed to gain a bit of confidence just before the Big Bash and have carried on since then, which has been great."
It is especially pleasing for Voges given that he had all but given up on playing for Australia again. For six years, he has been the ultimate fringe player. Since his debut in February 2007, he has played 17 one-day internationals out of a possible 164. He has never played more than three in a row. It is not that he has performed badly, but nor had he really grabbed his chances. Always there were at least a couple of batsmen ahead of him in the queue. His unbeaten 112 at the MCG might just have elevated him beyond fringe status.
Or it might not. Australia are not scheduled to play any ODIs until the Champions Trophy in England in June, and a lot can happen in four months. The selectors are actively planning for the 2015 World Cup, hoping to build a squad that can regain the title at home, but Voges, 33, knows better than most how fluid limited-overs cricket can be.
"It's been two years since I played my last ODI game. I guess you never say never," Voges said. "The longer you are away from the team maybe you think that opportunity might not come around again but the great thing is that the selectors have brought me back in when I've been playing well. The best time to get picked is when you're scoring runs. You've got to make the most of it while it does last but I'm enjoying my cricket at the moment.
"All I can do is make every opportunity count as best I can. I don't know when that next opportunity will come. Hopefully I'll play Wednesday night [in the Twenty20 against West Indies] and hopefully score some more runs again. I'll take it as a game-by-game proposition at the moment. I certainly enjoyed today."
He could be forgiven for wondering if his international career was over before his recall. After touring New Zealand in March 2010, he was called back for one appearance at the end of the series against England in February 2011, and made an impressive 80 not out. But he was only there because senior men were being rested, and he knew at the time that it was a one-off.
"It was a bit of a funny one because it was the last game of a series before a World Cup and that squad had already been picked," Voges said. "So it didn't really matter how well or poorly I performed in that game, I knew I wasn't playing the next one. Maybe that was not a bad thing because you play without a lot of fear then. It was just the circumstance at the time, there was a World Cup on and I knew I wasn't going to be around for that. It was a bit of a long wait but it's nice to be back."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here