Ashton Turner has faced more physical health challenges than most, but it was the recalled hitter’s passion for improving youth mental health that led him to launch a unique program for the next generation of Australian cricketers.
Turner’s promising return to his first one-day international game in 18 months was somewhat overshadowed by Australia’s appointment of a new captain and three debutants in their series opener overall win over the West Indies Wednesday (AEST).
After an average comeback on the T20I’s side in the Series 1-4 loss to Saint Lucia, the 28-year-old entered a 104-point partnership with skipper Alex Carey for the first time on difficult terrain in the Barbados with the hosts. could only handle 123 on.
Turner has fallen to a point in his first fifty for Australia since his coronation on the international stage, a miraculous 43-ball 84 undefeated at Mohali in 2019 that inspired a remarkable series victory over India.
His hopes of securing a permanent place in the limited national teams were hampered by four reconstructions of his right shoulder, including three in as many years between 2017-2019, after first injuring his joint. playing football at the age of 17.
“Touching wood is as good as it has been in a long time,” said Turner, who was a regular off-spin bowler before his shoulder problems.
“I have had four shoulder surgeries so it will never be perfect. But I have been almost two years since my last operation and every day I feel stronger and stronger. I hope all my surgeries are behind. me and the best of my pitch and bowling on the field is in front of me.
“I am available to bowling, I bowled as much as possible in training (but) I haven’t bowled much in the last couple of years. You always feel better for having overs under you. belt under pressure in match situations.
“I’m sure those wickets start to deteriorate further as the series goes on, we might start to see the spin play a bigger role and hopefully I can be a part of that.”
Having had the misfortune not to make Australia’s 2019 World Cup squad, Turner is eager to make his case for this year’s T20 flagship event.
The right-hander admitted he thought he was unlikely to be chosen for tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh, instead preparing for a winter preseason in Perth and looking after his three children from less than four years after her partner Krystenna gave birth to twins in March.
In recent years he has been one of the main finishers of the KFC BBL, a role Australia has yet to fulfill even when David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Steve Smith (in fitness) are again available.
Josh Hazlewood considers Turner one of his toughest teammates to play, noting that he hits the ball in different areas than most top players, while Carey believes he has a great international future ahead of him. him.
“He played one of the best innings I’ve ever seen internationally, in Mohali, India to keep the series alive,” Carey said of Turner. “So we know what he can do.
“It’s a very, very good 49 he did (in the first ODI).
“He works very hard on the pitch and as you have seen tonight, with the quality of a player he is, he will play a lot more games for Australia.
“He’s busy, he runs strong between the wickets, he has the ability to clear the stakes. Also captain of his team in WA at times, he has a lot of knowledge and stands next to me at the slip tonight he was in. ‘great value. “
Turner, along with current Western Australian teammate Cameron Bancroft and former teammate Simon Mackin, last year launched ‘Gritfull’, a junior sports wellness program that aims to help young players manage their health. mental.
All three players have already detailed their own challenges they have faced in dealing with their own mental well-being.
With Turner in the Caribbean (and then Bangladesh next month) with limited Australian teams, Bancroft in the UK playing county cricket for Durham and Mackin having definitely moved to Melbourne, the trio are struggling to find a window where all three can be handy with the program.
But Turner is convinced that a considerable gap remains in the course of junior cricket between the quality of technical, physical and tactical training versus mental orientation.
“This is something that was born in the midst of the lockdown during the pandemic,” Turner said of Gritfull, whom he has helped lead at many junior cricket clubs in Perth.
“We talked about our stories and some of the things we learned along the way, trying to hone some of the kids with strategies to make them feel more comfortable in themselves and feel better about themselves. the challenges they face and the challenges they will face in the future.
“No one is immune to hardship and I think this is potentially a gap in the pathway system.
“Growing up in Australia, following the paths with Cricket Australia, there are incredible resources to help us beat and bowling better, but a lot of times the other side of the game, the mental side of the game, is not. also well endowed.
“I know personally that I was not able to tap into (the expertise) of psychologists and wellness consultants until I started getting a contract as a professional cricketer.
“There is great knowledge that a lot of people can share and the three of us are trying to do our part right now.”
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia Team: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (vc for ODI), Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson , Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (vc for T20Is), Adam Zampa. Traveling Reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
ODI Antilles team: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope (vc), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd
T20 series: the West Indies win 4-1
(all matches at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, Saint Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: West Indies won by 56 points
Third T20: West Indies won by six counters
Fourth T20: Australia won by four points
Fifth T20: West Indies won by 16 points
(all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI: Australia won by 133 races
Second ODI (D / N): July 23, 4:30 a.m. AEST (July 22, 2:30 p.m. local)
Third ODI (D / N): July 25, 4:30 a.m. AEST (July 24, 2:30 p.m. local)
* Details of T20’s five-game Bangladesh tour have yet to be announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Visits are subject to agreement on biosafety provisions and relevant government approvals.