Henriques hopes to build on rapid start
Moises Henriques hopes his maiden first-class century won't be the high point of his season, setting his sights on a full summer without injury and delivering more victories for New South Wales along the way.
Henriques has been named the Australian Cricketers Association's Player of the Month for October, after starting the summer with 78 against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield match in Perth, followed by an unbeaten 161 against Tasmania.
The hundred had been a long time coming for Henriques, who was considered a future Test prospect when he made his first-class debut at the age of 19 in 2006-07. Along the way, Henriques has delivered some fine performances for his state and earned a call-up to Australia's Twenty20 and one-day international squads in 2009, but a first-class century could become the breakout moment for Henriques, who is now 25.
"I always felt it wasn't far away," Henriques told ESPNcricinfo of his hundred. "It was good just to get that one under the belt and be able to relax a little bit more now when I sleep at night instead of wondering when that first big one is coming. I always knew it wasn't going to be far away but it's very good to get it over and done with early in the season. It is just the start of the season and it's important to continue on for the full duration now."
The main thing Henriques hopes to achieve this summer is to stay fit. Henriques is in his seventh season of Shield cricket but this week was playing only his 28th Shield match. As Shane Watson has known for a decade and Mitchell Marsh is rapidly discovering, one of the greatest challenges faced by the allrounder is managing the demands on the body.
"Last season I tore my side twice, and before the season I had both my groins operated on," Henriques said. "I've had hamstring problems in the past. It's been a combination of things. So far this season it's been good and I haven't missed a game yet. Fingers crossed, that's the way it keeps coming.
"The more cricket you play, I'm hoping that the more your full-grown body gets used to it and starts accepting what you're doing. That's what I'm hoping for. All I can do is keep preparing as well as I can for every game. If anything happens during the game with injuries it's almost out of my control. All I can control is how I prepare and recover."
All the same, the tendency of allrounders to suffer injuries could also work in Henriques' favour. Watson missed the first two Tests against South Africa with a calf injury having also sat out of the entire home Test summer, Marsh is out for the season with a serious hamstring tear, and Andrew McDonald is also unlikely to play again this summer due to a hamstring injury.
Should Henriques find himself fit and in form at the right time, Test cricket could become a realistic possibility. But to realise that goal, he knows he'll need more than one or two eye-catching performances.
"That's everyone's dream is to play Test cricket for Australia," he said. "My first and short-term goals are to win games for New South Wales and to hopefully stay on the park for a full season and win a couple of tournaments. After that, by showing as an individual that you can win games for your team and help your team have a successful season, that's how I see myself getting selected."
As an allrounder, those strong performances could come with either bat or ball. During a stint with Glamorgan this year, Henriques found life difficult with the bat - his best score in four first-class games was 16 - but the upside was that the conditions helped his bowling, and he picked up 13 wickets at 22.23.
"That's the beauty of being an allrounder - if it's not suiting your batting it's more than likely going to be suiting your bowling," Henriques said. "I concentrate on both just as much as each other. I did bowl a lot in the pre-season because I have had a few injuries in the past and I wanted to build a bit of resilience into the body and make sure I kept bowling and bowling. I do give equal time and effort to both."
During the Player of the Month voting period, Henriques made 289 Shield runs and was dismissed only once, and he also collected seven wickets at15.29, as well as making 78 in his only Ryobi Cup appearance. He finished with 31% of the votes, ahead of Ricky Ponting on 29.3% and Phillip Hughes on 17.2%.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here