Travis Dean thought he was going to be a Melbourne Stars player six months ago. Glenn Maxwell was in contention for a recall to the Australian one-day side, and the Stars had lined up the Victorian opener to be Maxwells replacement.
Dean was away playing for the Cricket Australia XI in a one-dayer against England.
“I came off the field, hadnt had my phone the whole day, expecting Maxwell to get the spot,” Dean recalls.
“And as I came off the field, Cam White had actually been picked, which was great for him and I was really happy for him.
“It was funny, within 20 minutes Id got a call from the Renegades to be their replacement player for the week.”
Dean spent a week and a half with the Renegades before White returned, but didnt play a game.
Two months later the Stars were in touch again, telling Dean they were interested in signing him for the 2018-19 season.
He duly put pen to paper, joining the MCG tenants as they look to rebound from a dreadful 2017-18 campaign.
Dean, 26, is not the first player youd think of when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Since making a stunning Sheffield Shield debut in late 2015, hes been known for a relatively sedate scoring rate at the top of Victorias order.
But with players away on international duties last year, a spot opened in Victorias 50-over side and a breakthrough century against South Australia gave Dean confidence he could perform in the white-ball format.
“I never thought Id even play a one-day game, let alone make runs,” Dean said.
“That was a bit of a turning point for me. I had a plan in place and worked on a plan with the coaches and Brad Hodge and a few of the senior players, and for it to come off gave me a bit of confidence. Obviously the next step is to move into that T20 mould.”
While Dean said it was too early to know just where he might bat, he joins Australian international Nic Maddinson in bolstering a Stars line-up that will have a radically different look next summer following the exits of Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Robert Quiney and James Faulkner, the latter of whom has joined the Hobart Hurricanes.
West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who has played for cross-town rivals Melbourne Renegades, and English spinner Adil Rashid, have also been strongly linked to the import holes left by Pietersen and Wright.
The Stars have also lost captain John Hastings to the Sydney Sixers, with Peter Handscomb poised to take his role.
After an indifferent shield season last summer, Dean, who played for Australia A in 2016, said he had not received any communication from Cricket Australia hierarchy about another call-up, but noted there were opportunities for the taking with David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft suspended.
“Theres no better time. Youve got five Shield games coming up before the first Test this year, and from all reports its open slather at the moment.”
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.
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