Billy Stanlake could be Australia’s biggest bolter in more ways than one, but Queensland team-mate Usman Khawaja will not be surprised to see him in Australian colours.
At 204cm, Stanlake is set to become the tallest player ever to represent Australia.
However his height was not the biggest shock when selectors read his name out as part of the 14-man national squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against Pakistan, starting Friday at the Gabba.
The 22-year-old quick has played just two first-class matches and four one-day games for Queensland, making him one of the most inexperienced call-ups in Australian history.
But even when considering the fact he has not played in the Sheffield Shield since December 2015, when back injuries struck him down, Khawaja said he was not surprised when he heard Stanlake was in the squad.
“His name was mentioned last year before he got injured, he’s just that kind of bowler,” Khawaja said.
“He’s a tall bloke, bowls fast, hits the bat hard and he’s very ugly to face.
“The selectors think he’s ready and I’m sure that he is and if he gets a chance he’ll do really well.”
Australian coach Darren Lehmann has already stated Stanlake will more than likely play a couple of games in the series — most likely when Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell Starc is rested ahead of a busy two months.
Stanlake won his way into the squad off the back of an impressive Big Bash League campaign for the Adelaide Strikers, where has taken six wickets in his past three matches.
He also has seven Shield and seven one-day domestic wickets to his name, and while Khawaja has played in just two of those matches alongside him, he has seen enough in the nets.
“He’s very tall and very fast, and that’s two commodities you don’t get together a lot of times,” he said.
“Either you bowl fast and you’re not as tall, or you’re tall and you’re not as fast but he can do both which is quite impressive.”
Khawaja also backed the call-up of close friend Chris Lynn to the Australian squad for a potential ODI debut as a result of his exhilarating BBL form.
He’s got the most (BBL) sixes by about plus 40 to anyone else,” he said.
“The consistency he’s showing and the way he’s hitting the ball … it’s some of the best hitting I’ve seen.
“But he’s grown as a cricketer, gotten better which you hope to do as a cricketer.”