Behrendorff overcomes doubters and injuries to dash England’s dreams

The story of Jason Behrendorff… the unheralded Australian seamer who overcame doubters and back injury to etch his name into Lord’s history and derail England’s World Cup dreams

  • England’s World Cup hopes were dented by defeat by Australia on Tuesday
  • Jason Behrendorff took the new ball and ended with five wickets at Lord’s 
  • It was the perfect way to rubbish suggestions he was only picked as a back-up 
  • ‘It’s one of those things you dream of as a kid to play for Australia,’ he said 

It didn’t take long to see why the unheralded Jason Behrendorff was handed the new ball ahead of Pat Cummins at Lord’s on Tuesday. 

His second delivery swung back through the defences of James Vince – and Australia were on their way to another World Cup semi-final.

The left-arm Behrendorff added Jonny Bairstow, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jofra Archer to his swag, etching his name on the new one-day honours boards at Lord’s, which were installed in February.

Jason Behrendorff took five wickets against England, including that of James Vince at Lord’s

The left-arm seamer celebrates with his team-mates during their victory on Tuesday

For a 29-year-old with a history of back problems, it wasn’t a bad way of dealing with the suspicion that he was in Australia’s World Cup squad only as back-up for Mitchell Starc, who claimed four wickets himself as England slid to 221 all out.

‘Some days, especially during all the rehab periods, you think: “Am I going to get back? Am I going to be able to get out there and play for my country?” he said. 

‘It’s one of those things you dream of as a kid to play cricket for Australia; and then to come here and play at Lord’s for the first time – it was something special.’

Behrendorff does not tick the usual boxes for an Australian fast bowler. He has studied sports science, has Dutch ancestry – his family added an ‘f’ to the surname to confuse the Nazis – and is distinctly unassuming. As Starc put it: ‘He’s fairly quiet. But when he speaks, it’s all sense.’

Seamer led the Australian attack from the front as they dented England’s World Cup dreams

Behrendorff celebrates after taking the wicket of Jofra Archer, who trudges from the field

He can also bowl. In February 2017, he became only the second player since the Second World War, after Terry Aldermann, to take 14 wickets in a Sheffield Shield game, a haul that included first-innings figures of nine for 37 for Western Australia against Victoria. 

On his ODI debut, against India in January, he removed Shikhar Dhawan in his first over, and later dismissed MS Dhoni.

After knocking over England, Behrendorff also revealed that cricket’s new addiction to ‘match-ups’ had persuaded the Australians to go into the game with two left-arm seamers. 

England, they felt, were vulnerable against the angle of attack. Nine wickets for him and Starc suggested they were on to something.


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