SYDNEY: 22 year old Billy Stanlake is set to become the tallest player in Australian cricketing history after replacing the rested John Hazlewood in the first one day international.
Stanlake, six foot seven inches tall, has played just two first-class games so far for Queensland and has featured in four List A games. He hasn't played in the Sheffield Shield after a back injury since 2015 but has created a lot of ripples in the Australian domestic circuit.
"His name was mentioned last year before he got injured, he's just that kind of bowler," Usman Khawaja said about Stanlake. "He's a tall bloke, bowls fast, hits the bat hard and he's very ugly to face," he added.
Cricket Australia is looking to manage the workload of premier pacers like Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood, which means that the ODI call-up comes at an opportune moment for Stanlake to prove his mettle. He impressed in the Big Bash League games where he's picked up six wickets in the last three games for the Adelaide Strikers.
However, even after promising performances, the pacer acknowledged that he wasn't expecting a national team call-up."Yeah, it was definitely a shock to me," he said.
"It's funny how things can happen so quickly. I was returning from injury a few months ago so it was definitely a big shock for me. It hasn't yet sunk in. I'm just excited to get around and get to know everyone," he added.
Stanlake was also quick to point out that he's taking this opportunity to learn and develop as a fast bowler. "I'll just try and feed off everyone. I'll try and learn as much as I can," he pointed out. "My height and my bounce makes me a little difficult to face. That's the x-factor and the Pakistan side haven't seen me much so that's an upside as well,” he said.
Coach Darren Lehmann too was impressed with Stanlake's pace and was excited to see him in the squad. "He's very tall and very fast, and that's two commodities you don't get together a lot of times," gushed Lehmann.