Ashton Turner enjoying maiden IPL experience with Rajasthan Royals

The Australia all-rounder admits he was “baffled” when picked in the auction last year.

Ashton Turner admits the return of David Warner and Steve Smith adds pressure on aspirants to seal their spot in the World Cup squad.   -  AP

On the morning of December 19, 2018, Ashton Turner woke up at 3 a.m. to learn that he was picked by Rajasthan Royals at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.

It would take another three months for the world to wake up to his talent; in March, 2019, he scored a 43-ball 84 to steer Australia to a four-wicket victory against India in a One-Day International (ODI) — the fourth of the series — in Mohali. Chasing a daunting 360, the visiting team needed 131 from 83 balls when he arrived at the fall of the fourth wicket. Thirteen balls were still left when he hit the winning runs, in what was his only second ODI.

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That innings made the ₹50 lakhs (USD 72,308 approx.) Royals spent on him seem quite a bargain. He is still to make his IPL debut, though.

“To be honest, I was initially baffled when I got to know that I was picked by Rajasthan Royals,” Turner told Sportstar. “It was pretty exciting news to wake up to that morning.”

‘Exciting competition’

The 26-year-old had been wanting to play the IPL for quite some time. “It’s such an exciting competition. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go in any of the auctions earlier because of the shoulder surgeries I’ve had to have at the end of the Australian summer,” he said.

The off-spinning all-rounder said it was great to wear his pink jersey and to join the Royals camp. “Everyone here in the team has also been very hospitable and generous with their time. I have a feeling we’ll go pretty deep in the tournament,” he said.

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Looking back at his most famous innings, he said he was was fortunate to be picked in the Australian squad for the contest in the first place. “To be a part of a win in my first ever away series in tough conditions like India was an unbelievable feeling. Back home, I’ve been playing a fair bit of T20 cricket like in the Big Bash League and it has helped prepare me to re-adapt myself to ODI format as well,” he revealed.

Ashton Turner had played a whirlwind knock in Mohali to hand Australia a come-from-behind win. Photo: R. V. Moorthy

 

According to him, Mohali had a fantastic batting surface. “There was enough dew to give bowlers a disadvantage. I was able to pull off an almost T20-like innings that day,” he said.

Turner could find a spot in Australia’s World Cup squad but he isn’t bothered about it at the moment. “With players like Steve Smith and David [Warner] coming back, there’s going to be a lot of pressure for sealing your spot in the team, with probably two batsmen squeezed out to accommodate them. At this point, all I can do is to prepare to be a part of the squad and train well,” he concluded.