Rajasthan Royals’ Ben Laughlin eyeing comeback in Australia T20 team via IPL 2018

Rajasthan Royals’ Ben Laughlin last played for Australia in ODIs in 2009 and T20s in 2013.

cricket Updated: Apr 24, 2018 17:50 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Rajasthan Royals,Ben Laughlin,IPL 2018
Rajasthan Royals cricketer Ben Laughlin is eyeing a comeback into the Australian cricket team.(AFP)

Rajasthan Royals’ Australian fast bowler Ben Laughlin is on a break from work till the IPL. Before coming to India, the 35-year-old carpenter had conveyed to clients that he would complete their orders once he is back.

“I love my job apart from cricket. In India, I miss my tools but holding that cricket ball and bowling for Royals is giving me a high,” said Laughlin, who was bought by Royals for Rs.50 lakh in the auction.

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Making the most of the IPL experience and savouring Indian delicacies, Ben is adjusting to the pitches and heat. “The wickets in Australia offer bounce which makes it easy for a quick bowler. Bowling on Indian pitches is challenging as one has to adjust and bowl accordingly. The heat makes it more difficult but eventually it is wonderful to challenge your limits,” said Laughlin, who grew up Queensland and bowling to father Trevor, who played three Tests for Australia, in the backyard.

Royals made it to IPL after a two-year suspension but had to drop Steve Smith as captain due to the ball-tampering scandal. India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane stepped in and is leading the team. “Having Stevee would have been a great thing, but I think Ajinkya has done a fine job in his absence. He has been calm and collective in his approach and backing everyone in the team. The team is picking up under his leadership and the presence of Shane Warne has done good. With more wins under our belt, Royals will march on in the end stages of the competition,” said Laughlin, who made his T20 debut in 2009. He has not represented Australia since 2013 but has established himself as one of the best bowlers in the Big Bash League (BBL). An expert in death bowling, Laughlin, who plays for Adelaide Strikers, has played in 109 T20 matches and picked up 140 wickets—the most in BBL.

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“I am looking to make a comeback to the Australia team. IPL has helped many cricketers get into their national teams, I am also looking at it with that frame of mind. It has been so much learning being around Shane (Warne). I would like to get better and prove my mettle,” said Laughlin, who was rested against Mumbai Indians which Royals won by three wickets on Sunday. He has six wickets in five matches so far in IPL.

Laughlin, who is mentored by former Queensland bowler and coach Joe Dawes, played for Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyerabad in the past. He has also played in the Pakistan Super League, New Zealand’s Super Smash and Caribbean Premier League. “I have played in different conditions in various T20 leagues. Spinners are doing well in IPL at the moment but economical fast bowlers hold the key and will make a difference in the end,” he said.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 17:43 IST