Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who had worked with Billy Stanlake as the team’s assistant coach in the Trans-Tasman T20 tri-series, believes that the 23-year old could be one of the “all-time great fast bowlers.”
“I just love the look of what he’s got,” Ponting told the Cricket Australia website. “He’s almost seven feet tall, bowls close to 150 kilometres an hour, he can swing the new ball. He’s got a little nasty streak in him as well – he likes bowling bouncers.
“When we see him get a bit more of a tank and grow into his body a bit more and put on a little bit of weight, I think he’s someone that could be one of the all-time great fast bowlers. That’s all there ahead of him, we just hope he stays in one piece and becomes the kind of cricketer we all think he can be.”
Stanlake had played only two first-class matches – the last of them in 2015 – and four List A games when he received his maiden call-up to the Australia squad, for the home ODIs against Pakistan in 2017. More recently in the T20I series against England and New Zealand, Stanlake impressed with his rapid pace and bounce. In all, he claimed eight wickets in five matches at an economy rate of 8.30.
Having taken 19 wickets in 17 matches for Adelaide Strikers in the past two BBL seasons at an economy rate of 6.77, he has established himself as a key bowler in T20 cricket. After playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL in 2017, he was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for USD 78000 (INR 50 lakh) in the auction last month. And last week, he was signed by Yorkshire for the T20 Blast.
Injuries – notably a succession of stress fractures and a toe infection that led to talk of an amputation – have limited Stanlake’s chances in red-ball cricket. But Ponting felt the fast bowler has what it takes to excel in all formats. “Billy’s in his early 20s now, just starting to fill into his body. I know Cricket Australia have got every intention of looking after him as well as they can and making sure they do bulk him up and don’t break him too soon.
“I know coming out of the Big Bash and even being around this group, we’ve been trying to pump his loads up to get him to bowl seven or eight overs a day.
“But I’m sure if there’s an opportunity for Billy to play a Shield game at the back end of the season, I think we’d all be silly not to let him have that opportunity.”