Champions Trophy 2013 May 2, 2013

Voges ready to come in from the fringe


Last November, Adam Voges didn't know where his next run would come from. His first 12 innings in the domestic season failed to bring a single half-century and not only did an international recall appear far-fetched, even his grasp on a spot in the Western Australia team was becoming tenuous. For a 33-year-old, that's a scary position to be in. But fast-forward five months and Voges has not only held his state job, he is part of the Australia squad that will defend the Champions Trophy in England.

"If you'd asked me if I'd be in a Champions Trophy squad back then I probably would have laughed at you," Voges told ESPNcricinfo. "But it's amazing how quickly things can turn around. Having a good Big Bash was a real catalyst for that and I've been able to kick on since then."

Another factor in his change of fortunes was the arrival of Justin Langer as the new Western Australia coach, which coincided with Voges being appointed state captain after the resignation of Marcus North. Voges became the sixth-leading run scorer in the BBL and earned a recall to the one-day international side for the series against West Indies in February, and an unbeaten 112 in the last ODI in Melbourne completed a remarkable turnaround.

"I started last season really poorly. Myself personally and Western Australia as a team, we really had a horror start to last season," he said. "I was always playing catch-up in terms of the number of runs that I scored. I'd finished the county season for Nottinghamshire not very well, and then to not start the season with WA well, my confidence was down a fair bit.

"I was going through one of those patches where I wasn't really sure where my next run was coming from. If I didn't score some runs [being dropped by WA] was a real possibility. But then a lot of things changed with Marcus resigning, [coach] Lachie Stevens resigning and Justin Langer coming in. It gave me a breath of fresh air and I think it gave a lot of people the same thing. It certainly helped turn my season around."

Not that everything went swimmingly for Voges, whose Sheffield Shield run tally for the summer was 388 at 25.86, hardly the kind of season he wanted in a year when Ashes spots were up for grabs. His limited-overs form was good but even so, that February recall, two years after he had last played for Australia, loomed as the last chance for a man who had been on the fringes of Australian international cricket for six years without ever holding down a permanent place.

Voges earned central contracts with Cricket Australia in 2007, 2008 and 2010, without ever being more than a backup. He has played 17 ODIs of a possible 164 since his debut, and has never held his position for more than three in a row. He is one of only four men in this Champions Trophy squad that was part of the group that won the tournament in 2009, but again he was no more than a reserve and did not play a game.

"I've been away on tours and probably got opportunities at the back end of series, perhaps when the result has already occurred, so I'd love to be part of it and get a decent, long run in the team," Voges said. "Obviously my performances will determine that and the next time I do get that opportunity I certainly have to make the most of it. But I can get those runs.

"In the past, while I don't think I've ever let myself down whenever I've got the opportunity, I maybe haven't quite nailed it as well as I would have liked. That's probably the reason I haven't been able to play more than two or three games in a row. I realise that at this stage of my career that I've really got to make the most of every opportunity because there's plenty of young guys knocking down the door."

The way Voges finished the international summer - he made 28 and 112 not out in his two ODIs and then 51 in the T20 against West Indies in Brisbane - gives him a good chance of being part of Australia's line-up for their first Champions Trophy match. After the tournament, he will stay on in England to play T20 cricket with Middlesex and perhaps some first-class cricket as well, given the county's other Australian signing, Chris Rogers, now has Ashes duties.

And if Australia find themselves in need of another experienced batsman to cover for injuries mid-Ashes, Voges wants to make sure he is nearby and scoring heavily. His Shield performances last summer might have been disappointing, but his overall first-class record is solid: 7821 runs at 40.10.

"With Chris Rogers being picked in the Ashes squad there could be an opportunity for me to stay on and play a bit of Championship and one-day cricket with Middlesex [after the T20s]," Voges said. "It would be terrific to be over there while the Ashes is on.

"You just never know. You never wish injury or anything like that on anybody. But if opportunity arises I'll certainly be there and hopefully scoring runs. It's probably a long shot, but I'll be there and ready to go if need be."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on May 3, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    @Dylan Nichols - whilst I THINK I know where you are coming from the comment "...or someone under 30 be given a go..." Age should NOT, come into it. There is a Champ Trophy to be won, & the best players should be made available for it. I think the NSP has held back Harris for the Champ Trophy due to workload concerns ahead of the Ashes, but by & large the side is a merit based selection rationale. Khawaja has nearly ZERO merit for selection in the ODI side, & even if he did have some form, I wouldn' select him as I have a belief that playing ODIs will stuff his Test-technique (right or wrong).

    @ PFEL on (May 3, 2013, 1:07 GMT) - technically the Super Test & ODI series was considered a World Event & it was played in Oz, as it had been a while since we had held an event back then!

    @Chris_P on (May 2, 2013, 23:28 GMT) - my gut feel, is that Voges can't maintain a 50+ batting average over time, but then again he does ave 44 in List A.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    Yeah, he's a little out of form in the Shield last season but you simply cannot argue with his ODI batting average of 53. His Shield output was a little low, and if he had a good season he would most likely have been in the Test squad. I think he is unlucky to not have played more matches over the past few years given the frustrations with players who have done well in List A matches but failed in the ODIs, for example Finch.

  • Patrick on May 3, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    How come the world tournaments are never in Australia? We havent had one in 20 years.

  • Andrew on May 2, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    IMO - whether Voges has much of a role depends on the team balance. Should Oz go with 4 seamers + Watto, I think Voges will lose out to Maxwell. Voges will more likely play a role IF Doherty is selected, & I would imagine that Clarke would consider using Voges's handy offies. As I imagine that Watto, Warner, Hughes & Clarke are the top 4, & given Bailey is the VC, + Wade somewhere between #5 & #7 in the order, there is only ONE slot Voges is realistically gunning for. It is really Voges v Maxwell v MMarsh. IF Watto can't bowl (which shouldn't be the case as he is resuming bowling in the IPL), then I think Voges is just a spare batsmen & that spare spot is Maxwell or Marsh's.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    As the article said, he is 33. He is hardly in the Hussey calibre of middle-order batsmen and isn't likely to be. I'd rather Khawaja or someone under 30 be given a go.

  • Peter on May 2, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    Although I am not a huge fan of his, he certainly deserved this spot based on his form (there's that word again) in the shorter format & unlike Finch, grabbed his chance when presented. As stated in another article, you can't know selection when it is based on form. Good luck to him.

  • Ash on May 2, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    you have to love the fringe players talking their chances up. cowan is responsible for this ridiculous new trend. and he is arguably the least talented player in the test/odi/T20 squads combined

  • Ross on May 2, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Good ODI player but his shield stats don't back him as one of our better test prospects. We need him to do well in the champions trophy.

  • Mariam on May 2, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Hopefully Vogues does well, its not easy coming back from health issues but he has done well. His shield season wasn't good(averaging less then 30) but he did really well in the ODI format in his last few matches, we will need him to fire.