By Chris Barrett, Sydney Morning Herald
At a function at the SCG last month to mark 10 years of the Basil Sellers Scholarship Program funding young player Moises Henriques reflected on his part in Australia’s recent visit to Sri Lanka.
He’d been the victim of a “slippery back foot”, he joked to the assembled crowd, which included nearly half the Test team. He wasn’t alone, of course, but in a particularly fruitless tour the all-rounder didn’t reach double figures with the bat in five innings across three formats.
The figures have been much better since he returned home. As Henriques prepares to lead the NSW Blues’ defence of the Matador Cup he is coming off two hundreds in the space of a fortnight, in an intra-squad match and then a warm-up game against Tasmania on Thursday.
Given the unofficial settings they were scored in the 29-year-old isn’t making a big deal about any return to form but he’s happy to be among the runs again.
“If you haven’t been scoring runs in certain conditions going to other conditions you still won’t be full of confidence,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of trying to stay hungry and maybe once you get that little bit of luck that goes your way, really making the most of it and cashing in. Once you’re back in form again, as the really good players do so well, just pile it on.”
Henriques featured in the first two of five ODIs in Sri Lanka and despite failing to make an impression hopes to return ot the national radar this summer, with Australia playing an additional one-day series against New Zealand in early December, as well as the customary limited-overs campaign that follows the Sydney Test.
His international career has been sporadic – with eight ODI appearances spread over seven years but he admits he has never grasped the chances when they have presented themselves.
“I’d like to play for Australia more but at the same time I want to deserve to play for Australia as well,” Henriques said.
“I haven’t yet gone out and played for Australia and batted well and taken one of those opportunities and I want to do that. I’d love to earn another opportunity to play for Australia and to do well and I guess eventually this season not only win games for NSW but go on and bat well at the highest level because I think I can. It’s just a matter of actually doing it.”
To get a look-in in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series or beyond Henriques will need a strong domestic tournament, which begins for NSW against the Cricket Australia XI at Hurstville Oval on Friday.
He could also use the Blues to figure prominently again. Last season they benefited from the cancellation of Australia’s Test tour of Bangladesh as Steve Smith led all scorers, averaging 145, and Mitchell Starc was untouchable with 26 wickets at eight a piece.
Due to Australia’s presence in South Africa and the untimely presence of a set of training stumps in the path of Starc at Hurstville Oval last month both will not suit up for NSW in the coming weeks.
Even so the Blues do not lack firepower. Nic Maddinson and Ed Cowan were, along with Smith, in the competition’s top four run-scorers in 2015 and Henriques himself averaged 63, bettered by only three others across the tournament. Doug Bollinger, newly “aerodynamic on top” and just back from injury, fronts the bowling attack, which will also feature Gurinder Sandhu and Pat Cummins, who made his own long-awaited return against Tasmania at Blacktown on Thursday.
“We’re not expecting anyone to come in and take 20 wickets like Starcy did or make 400 runs like Smithy did,” Henriques said. “But contributions come out of the whole team and we’re still very confident we can win the Matador Cup.”
Moises Henriques is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.