Matches (21)
IPL (2)
ACC Premier Cup (3)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)
Women's QUAD (2)
WI 4-Day (4)
Pakistan vs New Zealand (1)

Daniel Sams: Missing Australia tour best for me in the long term

The allrounder remains hopeful of finding a place in the T20 World Cup squad

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Daniel Sams has had a brief taste of international cricket  •  Getty Images

Daniel Sams has had a brief taste of international cricket  •  Getty Images

Daniel Sams remains comfortable with the decision to make himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies and Bangladesh to prioritise his mental health after the challenges of the IPL, which included catching Covid-19 before the tournament.
Sams ended up playing two matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore before being part of the cohort of Australians who had to spend time in the Maldives when the tournament was suspended before they could travel home due to border closures to those who had been in India. He was then one of eight players, including the injured Steven Smith, unavailable for the current tour.
"It was quite challenging with getting Covid in India, but it's been really good to be home. Don't have any regrets, obviously I've had thoughts of 'wish I was there' but in the end I made the decision that's best for me long term," Sams said. "My relationship is the most important thing, one of the biggest reasons for me pulling out was so I can connect back with my wife Danii because we'd never been apart for that long. That was definitely a priority and then my mental health as well.
"I made the decision to come home so I can be good long term where potentially if I went I'd be no good for the summer, the potential World Cup chances, the BBL, all that stuff. I'd love to be over there, but think it was the best decision for me and my family."
Sams, who plays domestically for New South Wales and Sydney Thunder, does yet know whether he will return for the resumption of the IPL in the UAE but national limited-overs captain Aaron Finch has made it clear he would find it difficult for players to go back to the league having not been available for Australia duty.
It is yet to be confirmed whether Australia will have any fixtures directly before the World Cup - there had been plans for a tri-series involving Afghanistan and West Indies - although the domestic season is due to start in mid-September which could need to be traded-off against the value of using the IPL as preparation.
"I 100% definitely understand where he's coming from with that, choosing not to go on this international tour whatever the reasons were, and choosing to go back to the IPL which potentially sacrifices some of the state commitments and whatever commitments there are leading to the World Cup," Sams said.
"That's something that needs to be considered. There's two ways to think of it. If you go to the back end of the IPL that's T20 cricket that you'll be playing so you'll be going into the World Cup on the back of playing all these games. There's a couple of ways to look at it."
Sams, who has played four T20Is, retains hope of making the final cut for the T20 World Cup. He showed his batting power with 41 off 15 balls against New Zealand in Dunedin and has eyes on the finisher's position.
"I'd like to improve on my bowling a little internationally," he said, "but I feel more than confident I can be a big part of the Australian T20 team. I'd like to bat as high as possible, but being realistic batting seven, there's been a lot of talk about the finisher role, and that's something I feel I could potentially do."
With Covid-19 currently causing lockdowns in Australia and the Delta strain proving very difficult to quell, there is the prospect of bubble life again being part of the cricket season. If that's the case, Sams believes players may need to take time away as well as find ways to help deal with the strain of a hotel-to-cricket ground existence.
"It's definitely something we'll figure out plans and ways to manage yourself," he said. "So if that means you'll have to take some time off then you'll have to take some time off [or] if that means you need to work with someone constantly. For me it has definitely been something like 'okay, we're going to be in bubbles again, how am I going to get through it so I can perform the best that I can'.
"That's definitely something I've been thinking about and wanting to put some things in place - I'm not quite sure what it's going to look like - to be able to manage myself while in those bubbles."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo