Australia batsman Ashton Turner has said he is determined to learn from the toughest summer of his career as he prepares to help the Perth Scorchers make a run at the BBL final.
Turner returns to the Scorchers side, after a lean tour of India with Australia's ODI side, for Friday night's vital clash with Adelaide Strikers in Perth. A victory there could all but secure their place in the top four, with one game left against fellow-aspirants Sydney Thunder on Sunday.
Turner has endured a nightmare season to date. In 21 matches across three formats in international and domestic cricket, he has managed just one half-century in 19 innings, having passed 15 just six times.
There are significant mitigating circumstances that have hindered his summer. He was coming off a major shoulder surgery in the pre-season that severally hampered his preparation. He then broke his finger in late September and missed a month of cricket prior to playing for Australia in the two T20 series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
On return to domestic cricket, he had to captain Western Australia following Mitchell Marsh's broken hand and led them to the Marsh Cup title but was dropped as acting captain from the Sheffield Shield side just a few weeks later after four single-figure scores in two games.
His BBL campaign started disastrously with a run-out in Sydney. In early January he was hospitalised for three nights with a severe middle-ear infection that saw him miss two BBL fixtures prior to departing to India.
"I've faced some challenges this season that I haven't had to face before," Turner said. "I've missed games with injuries, some with illness. I've been really fortunate that I've been picked to play for Australia in white-ball cricket, which has meant that I've travelled a bit more and been jumping between formats more than I ever have before.
"I'm really lucky for that opportunity but it also presents challenges that I haven't had to face before. I haven't had an extended run at any format for any period of time as I have in the past and it was something that I've just got to adapt to and become more flexible and it's something that I'm only going to get better at with time.
"It's something that I've sat down and thought about and put some plans in place for the future."
Turner's remarkable performance in Mohali on Australia's previous tour India in early 2019 has been a marker by which his last 12 months have been judged. But he doesn't feel that innings has been a burden for him.
"It didn't put extra pressure," Turner said. "It probably gave me confidence if anything. No matter how things are going I know my best is good enough and that I can perform against the best in the world, which India in their own conditions probably are.
"It's a key point of my career that I can always look back to and reference and if I'm ever in doubt. It's a time when all of my planning and preparation combine to produce the outcome that I strive for. It gives me confidence playing for Australia that I belong there and likewise, I've had performances for the Perth Scorchers before that I can look back on before a game tomorrow night that I can have fond memories of."
Turner is an important inclusion to the Scorchers' middle order that has been heavily reliant on their opening combination of Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis as well as the skipper Mitchell Marsh. Spinning allrounder Ashton Agar also returns to the side post the India tour. Chris Jordan will play his final game for the Scorchers before departing for England duty with Morne Morkel set to play his first game on Sunday.
Turner's return comes at the expense of Cameron Green, who has been dropped after a lean tournament. Turner believes Green will be a better player for the experience.
"Having done it before, batting 6 and 7 in T20 cricket is a tough job," Turner said. "Particularly at the start of your career. I started my career in that position and I was lucky that I got to bat behind some pretty good players at the Perth Scorchers and had limited opportunities. I was able to kickstart my career that way.
"I see Cam Green in the future being a top order. There's a reason we've given him so much exposure and game time. I think being able to play 12 games of BBL is like gold...he's only going to be better for the run and we're only going to see more of Cam Green in the future."