Canberra fast bowler Jason Behrendorff has his sights set on breaking into the Australian team with an arsenal of extra pace and a refined technique.
Having been sidelined for five months with stress fractures in his back, the 25-year-old left-armer has returned to bowling in preparation for the start of the domestic season in October.
Behrendorff will spearhead the Western Australian pace bowling attack and will also be a key component in the Perth Scorchers attempting to win three straight Big Bash League titles.
It was after the BBL final at Manuka Oval in January when MRI scans found Behrendorff had sustained a partial fracture to a bone in his back, leading to him missing the rest of the summer.
Behrendorff was on the verge of higher honours having been named the domestic cricketer of the year and in the mix as a World Cup and Ashes bolter.
“Going through the rehab period was really quite tough at times because you go through highs and lows,” Behrendorff said.
“To have those goals that you can write down and see, this is where I want to be in four weeks’ time, eight weeks’ time, at the top of my list is playing for Australia.
“That’s a big goal for me and hopefully it’s not too far away.”
Behrendorff emerged as a damaging fast bowler in all three forms of the game.
He was one of the premier bowlers in the BBL, finishing as the second highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets at an average of 16.73 and an economy rate of 6.28.
Behrendorff also claimed 40 wickets at 22.75 in the Sheffield Shield and 11 wickets in the national one-day competition, while taking four wickets for the PM’s XI against England in January.
He began bowling last month having made a slight alteration to his action to alleviate the stress on his back.
Behrendorff hopes those changes, along with a greater emphasis on strength training, will allow him to bowl in the low to mid-140km/h range more often while still having his trademark late swing.
“I hope the combination I’ve been doing on my action and the increased strength I’m able to get through my work in the gym will get me a little bit quicker,” he said.
“If I’m swinging the ball at high 130s, low 140s, then you’re always in the game.”
Behrendorff is on track for the start of the one-day competition on October 5.
“The most important thing is making sure I start the season well,” he said.
“If I start the season well, start taking wickets again, you never know what can happen. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.”