Hardie makes strides after Scorchers batting promotion
The allrounder is already on the radar of the national selectors and has made the most of a chance to bat No. 3
Touted for Test selection by Ricky Ponting, West Australian allrounder Aaron Hardie looms as a multi-format star in the making after continuing a superb BBL season.
Hardie's imperious form since being promoted to No. 3 has been a key factor in Perth Scorchers making yet another run at the title.
The 24-year-old again starred in Wednesday night's seven-wicket win over Hobart Hurricanes at Optus Stadium, plundering an unbeaten 90 off 62 balls as the Scorchers easily chased their target of 147.
Four-time champions Scorchers sit atop the BBL ladder with two games remaining and have lost just once at their home fortress.
Hardie has scored four half-centuries since being elevated to first-drop to replace the injured Mitchell Marsh, who noted during the Fox Cricket broadcast he might have to consider handing over the No. 3 slot for good.
The young gun has shown an ability to adapt his game across formats, having scored a remarkable 174 not out in last season's drawn Sheffield Shield final to secure WA the title.
All-time great Ponting floated Hardie as a bolter for the Sydney Test against South Africa, and the towering right-hander who averages 45 with the bat in first-class cricket seems destined for higher honours.
That could include the IPL, with fellow West Australian fast-bowling allrounder Cameron Green recently sold at auction for $3.15 million - a record price for an Australian player.
Hardie did not nominate this season and is believed to be considering a return to county cricket which could place him in the sights of national selectors ahead of the Ashes series.
"I've put my name in the draft before but didn't put my name in this year for various reasons," Hardie told reporters after Wednesday night's game. "Obviously if you put a number like that on the end of it, it's silly to say no.
"I don't really want to pigeonhole myself into any sort of format. Just being able to contribute in all the games possible. That allrounder role takes its toll on the body in four-day cricket but I also love that challenge...I'm enjoying playing all three while I can."
Hardie has not bowled in the BBL since straining his groin earlier this season but said he was ready if needed, although that may be unlikely given the Scorchers' enviable depth.
Lance Morris snared 2 for 21 against the Hurricanes after being named in Australia's squad to tour India next month. Fellow quick Jhye Richardson is expected to return from a hamstring injury in time for the finals.