Former Australia batsman Stuart Law has revealed how he was given just a “25-minute notice” to prepare himself for opening the batting in only his third ODI for Australia, before being dropped down the order for the next game despite scoring a century.
Law, a prolific run-maker in domestic cricket, played 54 ODIs and one Test for Australia, and has time and again expressed his displeasure at how he was treated by the selectors during his playing days, citing a lack of clarity over his future.
Speaking about the early part of his ODI career on the Cricket Life Stories YouTube series, Law recalled an incident from the 1994 Benson & Hedges World Series, when he was asked to open the innings out of the blue against Zimbabwe in Hobart.
“My debut wasn’t draped in any … I didn’t do well in the first couple of games. I remember four [three] games in, Mark Taylor came to me just after the toss, he had won the toss, we were batting, half an hour before we go out to bat, ‘You’re opening today. I am going to slide down at No.6. All the best, good luck’.
“That was my fourth [third] game of cricket for Australia and I thought ‘OK, that’s how it is.’ These days, if you don’t get a day’s notice, there’s uproar. I got a 25-minute notice to say I was moving up from No.7 or No.6 to open the batting. Lucky for me, I made 110, in my fourth [third] game, and reality hit the next game playing against England in Sydney, I was down batting at 6 or 7 again.”
"He’s one of the most unlucky cricketers of the modern era."
Stuart Law hit 79 first-class hundreds across his career but played just one Test for Australia… in which he hit 54 not out. https://t.co/W180GHQElf
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 28, 2020
Partnering Michael Slater at the top, Law struck a match-winning 110 against Zimbabwe, his only ODI century for Australia. It was one of only five instances when Law opened the batting in his international career.
“It was short-lived,” Law said. “It would have been nice to have a real run at it in one position. I remember the 1996 World Cup, I batted at No.5 the whole tournament.
“Occasionally, we used Shane Warne as a pinch-hitter, but my position was consistent and I came back one of the best-performed batters in the ’96 World Cup [Australia’s second-highest run-getter with 204 runs @ 51.00], and from that moment on, I realised once you have a settled spot and you know your role, it’s – well it’s not very easy – but it’s easier to go out and put performances on the board.
“I came back the second or third best batter on the trip, and next series which is only a month later, I didn’t even make the squad. So I don’t know what I did wrong a lot of times.”