Fraser-McGurk’s IPL breakout changes everything for Australia

Australia celebrate winning 2021 T20 World Cup

You only have to go back a few weeks to discover that Jake Fraser-McGurk’s chances of making Australia’s T20 World Cup squad were pretty much zero ahead of the IPL campaign.

But what transpired in the IPL, in terms of Fraser-McGurk’s performances, may have just turned everything on its head.

The T20 World Cup begins on June 1, and the latest cricket betting markets rightly have Australia as one of the favourites to win the tournament. Not only do they have an excellent squad of players, but they’re also previous winners of the competition. More importantly, they’re great at getting everything in order ahead of such an event, i.e., squad selection. Even before the IPL campaign, a squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA will have been pencilled in, but who would have thought Fraser-McGurk would throw a cat amongst the pigeons at the eleventh hour?

Fraser-McGurk, 22, who hails from Victoria, in just five appearances for the Delhi Capitals, racked up a stunning 247 runs, with an impressive strike rate registering at 237.50. Against the Sunrisers, he achieved an 18-ball sixty-five and then backed this up against Mumbai with a twenty-seven ball 84. On both occasions, it was fifty in fifteen deliveries, and something to take note of, especially if you’re involved in selecting the Australia squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

As far as IPL strike rates in 2024 go, Fraser-McGurk is in a class of his own, with Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head, Dinesh Karthik and Tristan Stubbs all trailing him by some way. This time last year, Fraser-McGurk was seen as a state-level cricketer who was very much on the fringe of things. Fast forward twelve months, and at twenty-two, he’s now one of the most in-demand young talents in the sport and has created a scenario where it may prove very difficult for Australia to leave him out of their T20 World Cup squad on the strength of his recent displays and growing status in the sport.

Instead of it being steady progression and then the natural step for Fraser-McGurk to be recognised by his country at the top, top level. He’s had to do things the hard way and very much come from obscurity to the fore in one fell swoop. And he’s undoubtedly achieved that, with many describing his impact in his first five IPL games as the biggest the iconic tournament has ever seen, and that’s saying something. In that instance, Fraser-McGurk has made himself arguably too difficult to ignore.

What will also give Fraser-McGurk an edge is the wickets that are expected to be similar, at least in the Caribbean. He’s shown what he’s capable of where slow wickets are concerned, and why wouldn’t Australia want to capitalise on that form when they’re already seen as one of the favourites to win the T20 World Cup, which would make them two-time winners of the competition. Fraser-McGurk could be the player to get them over the line, even if he wasn’t the man to do it just weeks ago.