At the start of this summer, legspinner James Muirhead couldn’t even land a Big Bash League contract.
But now, the 20-year-old has the chance to press his claims for a call-up to Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup squad.
Muirhead was a shock selection in Australia’s 14-man squad to take on England in a three-match T20 series, starting in Hobart on January 29.
The right-arm leggie has limited experience on the Australian domestic scene, playing just two first-class games and four Twenty20 matches.
Muirhead was overlooked by every BBL franchise at the start of this season.
But he received a belated lifeline from the Melbourne Stars, who needed to find a new bowler when allrounder James Faulkner fractured his thumb while with the Test team last month.
With Australia still yet to decide on their spin options for the T20 World Cup, national selector John Inverarity said Muirhead had a golden chance to strut his stuff.
“I haven’t played a first-class game for Victoria yet this season, so playing an international game before I play for the Bushrangers is totally unexpected,” Muirhead said.
“It was 7.30 (on Sunday night) and I got a call from an unknown number and I wasn’t going to answer it, but Dad said I should answer it.
“So I answered it and it was John Inverarity. I put it on loud speaker and he told me I was in the squad.
“I was shocked to be honest.
“(Dad) just shook my hand and said, `We knew this was coming’.
“I didn’t believe it was coming so soon, but I always had faith in myself that I’m going to get there one day.”
Muirhead claimed 4-115 and 2-66 while playing for Cricket Australia’s Invitational XI against England XI in Sydney last November.
Then earlier this month, Muirhead snared 3-52 while playing for the Prime Minister’s XI against England XI.
Inverarity said selectors wanted to get a good look at Muirhead before they choose their 15-man T20 World Cup squad on February 16.
“Xavier Doherty has strong claims, Brad Hogg still has strong claims, and we are interested in a legspinner also,” Inverarity said.
“So we are looking at James Muirhead this time.
“He’s a young man and he’s impressed this season when he’s played against England.
“He puts a lot on the ball, and his leg break turns.”