Ben Cutting seems to have the knack of striking it late. In the opening match of 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the 30-year-old hit two huge sixes against Shane Watson in the last over to take Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) past 200. SRH ultimately won by 35 runs.
Cut back to 2016 IPL final, and Cutting had a similar role to play. In the title clash between SRH and RCB, the Australian came in at No.6 and scored 39* off just 15 balls. He later picked 2/35 as SRH clinched the final by eight runs. His effort earned him the Man of the Match award.
For such a ‘late-bloomer’, Cutting’s story in his international career is going on a similar trajectory. He got an early call-up to the Australian Test team as a 19-year-old during the 2006-07 Ashes, but had to warm the bench. In the 10 years since then, he has played only four ODIs and four T20Is.
After playing another late but significant innings, Cutting talks to HT on what he thinks about IPL, SRH and his career:
Q: You affected a great run out of Kedar Jadhav in SRH’s opener against RCB. Shane Watson and Yuvraj Singh said it was the turning point of the match. What’s your thought?
A: It’s very important to keep cool on field in T20 cricket. When there is a high contest between bat and ball, it’s often the fielding that decides the winner. I was lucky that the ball came into my hands perfectly and my throw hit the stumps directly.
Q: You also played a 16-run knock that helped SRH cross the 200-run mark.
A: As an all-rounder you are expected to do everything; whether it is to go for big hits in the last overs, or to bowl in the 19th or 20th over. That’s the beauty of T20 cricket.
Q: Will playing in the IPL boost your chances of returning to the Australian team?
A: It’s a motivation but it will not boost my chances. I think the Australian team is pretty settled line-up. I am not here to play for a spot in the Australian team, I am here to play for SRH.
Q: For a player like you who is in his 30s, is money the driving factor for playing in T20 leagues?
A: Not so much yet for me. Money, probably, is the driving factor with guys as they reach mid-30s, and are approaching retirement. They want to settle for the post-retirement in a better way.
I turned 30 two months back, and probably will play at the top level for two to three years more. There’s plenty of cricket left in me. I am doing well in the T20s and that’s why I am playing and not because of the money.
Q: SRH has started the tournament on the right note with Yuvraj hitting the top gear. Your thoughts?
A: All the teams are always cautious about Yuvraj. He is in great form right from the start. We missed him in the first part of the 2016 edition. When he came in the dynamics changed and hopefully this year too we will benefit in a big way because of him.