The most in-form batsman in Australian domestic cricket at the moment, having recently made his international T20I and ODI debut, Travis has been ruled out of Australia’s World Cup squad after returning a negative head scan result. He admitted that it was only 18 months ago that he was going to do so. A cricketing abyss.
He had zero Sheffield Shield centuries and averaged only 30.38 in 55 innings. He had zero List A centuries and zero T20 centuries in 46 innings and just five fifties in 50 innings.
But in 2023, he has scored six centuries across all formats: one in the BBL, two in the Marsh Cup and three in Sheffield Shield cricket. Since moving closer to Victoria’s training facility at Junction Oval in Melbourne, he was the BBL player of the tournament, having played for Australia in the IPL, the Hundred and white-ball cricket.
“I think probably 12-18 months ago, I was nowhere near where I was in terms of not putting as much effort into training,” Short said. “So I got closer to training and made some sacrifices over the last few months. Really put some emphasis on training and doing extra things.”
There was more to it than that. But it is incredible that after being a talented Australia under-19, playing in the Youth World Cup, being selected in Cricket Australia’s development teams and being consistently selected for Victoria, Short, now just shy of 28 years old, has That achievement was not achieved earlier.
As a tall, powerful ball striker, with amazing hand-eye co-ordination, a talented catcher and a very skilled offspin bowler, Short is almost the perfect package for the modern game. It is easy to see why he invested so many games as a young player without the pressure of performing for his position.
“There’s probably a lot of volume (training),” Short said. “Really I’m just trying to execute my game plan. But it’s more about spending extra time in the gym around recovery and stuff. Really getting my body to play as much as I have over the last six to 12 months.” to prepare.
“It’s probably the mental side of things as well. I’ve been given a lot of freedom from Bucky Rogers and Dizzy Gillespie, both here at Victoria and at the Strikers in Adelaide. I’m just able to bat in my natural way. It’s quite aggressive and I “Looks like I’m getting a little carried away now.”
The extra responsibility also helped. He has gone from being an inconsistent rank-and-file member of both Victoria and the Strikers to a senior player who is trusted by both sides. Among the strikers, his run-scoring at the top of the order became crucial in the absence of Alex Carey and Travis Head, while he also had to bowl the powerplay overs.
For Victoria last summer, the absence of Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb due to Test duty and an injury to Nick Maddinson meant additional responsibility. Short thrived with it on his shoulders. He then experienced the new challenge of being a foreign player in the top order for Punjab Kings and Northern Superchargers in the Hundred in the IPL.
“I think being an international player, even if they were a replacement player, being the kind of player that teams rely on to score or take wickets or whatever, you have that kind of extra pressure on you I think it’s good to bring Victoria back,” Short said. “I think over the last few years we’ve relied too much on one or two players, whether it’s Marcus Harris or Pete Handscomb, Scotty Boland. It’s nice to think of myself as the guy that the team can rely on to score runs. “And help establish some victories.”
His bowling has also developed with the help of Victoria’s spin coach Craig Howard, who has been a key part of Todd Murphy’s development into a Test offspinner. Short suddenly comes across as a triple-threat in all three forms.
With Australia’s white-ball teams set to enter a transition phase, he is well aware that his purple patch could not have come at a better time. But looking beyond that, there are upcoming subcontinental Test tours of Australia to Sri Lanka in early 2025 and India in early 2027, where Short’s skillset will make him an asset.
“You never know,” Short said. “Based on my last six months I think anything can happen. If you keep putting the performances on the board at the right time, there can be some changes in Australian cricket at times like this. I think it’s It’s all about timing. I’m not really thinking too much about it, whether it’s white ball or red ball, but if I can continue to perform and try to win games for Victoria then who. Knows what will happen.”
“He seems to be in good spirits,” Short said. “I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
Alex Malcolm is associate editor at ESPNcricinfo