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Melbourne Stars’ Billy Stanlake issues Australian selectors clear reminder

Forgotten tearaway quick Billy Stanlake has issued the Australian selectors a stark reminder in his push to return to the international stage.

The Queenslander demanded attention from the moment he hit the top of his mark on his international debut, an ODI against Pakistan at the Gabba in January 2017.

This was a 22-year-old standing at 204 centimetres who could hit 150 kilometres per hour and swing the ball.

But Stanlake, who’s played a combined 26 matches across ODI and T20I cricket, hasn’t been seen in the international arena since November 2019.

It means the selectors have since overlooked the right-armer for 33 ODIs, including the entire 2019 World Cup campaign, and eight T20s.

But Stanlake says pace, swing and some new deliveries have him primed to make an international comeback.

“Yeah, I definitely think I can (impact at the international level),” Stanlake told reporters ahead of his Melbourne Stars debut on Friday night.

“I’ve proven to myself I can do that already. It’s a matter of getting back to putting good performances on the board consistently and putting my hand up for selection again.

“I think my biggest strength is bowling with the new ball and looking to take wickets and breaking the game open early, so I’m looking forward to getting back to playing that role.

“I’ve added some different balls over the last 12-18 months, which I probably didn’t use much during last year’s Big Bash but should have when I’m reflecting. I’ve also got my swing back and am looking forward to getting out there on Friday night.

“My pace is still there; I’ve still got my top-end speed. That’s my biggest strength. If I can do that and swing the ball at the same time that’s hopefully going to get some good results.”

Stanlake said former Australian quick and incumbent Queensland Bulls assistant coach Andy Bichel had been an enormous support.

Bichel took a combined 136 wickets across 86 international matches and returned to the Bulls as a coach ahead of the 2016/17 summer.

Stanlake is now one of Bichel’s main priorities as the 26-year-old mounts his case for selection for the 2021 T20 World Cup.

“Last year I had some technical things happen throughout the year that I was juggling with, so it’s been great working with Andy Bichel back home in the off-season,” Stanlake said.

“We’ve been nutting out my little check-off points that I need to have on the lead-up to the crease to make sure I’m in a good position and have good, consistent results down the other end.

“I feel like my bowling has been in a really good place for quite a while now; it’s just about getting into games and putting it into practice.”

Stanlake’s Stars will meet the Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval on Friday.

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