If things go to plan for Australia on Friday newly crowned Big Bash player of the year Matt Short might not get to bat, or at least not for long, in his maiden international game on home soil.
The Victorian slugger, an opening batter in white-ball cricket for his state and the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL, looms as a middle-order finisher in the opening ODI against the West Indies on his home ground, the MCG.
It’s a change in regular roles for Short who has nine internationals under his belt, but every single one of them was in South Africa and India. Short, 25, has opened the batting in seven of those games, but also come in at number nine in his second ODI clash.
He’s one of three Victorians in the ODI squad for the three-match series, but the only one who will play in Melbourne and that’s more important than his actual spot in the batting line-up, even though he knows where he does his best work.
“To be honest I do feel more confident at the top of the order,” Short said on Thursday.
“They are keeping the options pretty open for the top six, and they are going to try some guys in different positions.
“I’ll start in the middle, then be a chance to bat up the top in the next couple of games
“It’s not a full strength ODI team but every opportunity is huge, especially with the white ball stuff coming up, like the T20 World Cup.
“Any opportunity to get playing for your country, whether it be through the middle or at the top … if the spot’s there to be taken you just have to take that opportunity.”
Short said he’d taken advice from Marcus Stoinis, who was dropped from the ODI side after the World Cup following a long-time as a middle-order mainstay, as someone who had opened in the Big Bash but given a new role when he played for Australia.
“He’s been in a similar boat, really dominant at the to of the order in the BBL but didn’t have the spot available at the international level
“He’s changed his game, batting through the middle and finishing an innings.
“I spoke to him on that role change. But it’s still having that same positive mindset.”
World Cup winners Travis Head and Josh Inglis will fill the opening roles, with Cameron Green at number three as selectors try and work on their best top-order after the retirement of David Warner.
With interim captain Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne likely to fill those four and five spots, Short’;s position in the line-up could be determined by where big-hitting all-rounder Aaron Hardie comes in.
While Short will be making his home international debut, fast bowlers Lance Morris and Xavier Bartlett are set to pull on Australia colours for the first time.
Victorian duo Jake Fraser-McGurk and Will Sutherland, the two injury replacement players added to the squad late for Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Ellis, will have to wait for their turn.
The MCG debut caps a big week for Short who not only won the BBL award but also confirmed he and his partner, Australian Olympic swimmer Madi Wilson, were expecting their first child.