Third time lucky for Australian international Ben McDermott as he finally prepares to make T20 Blast debut in Hampshire’s opener against Middlesex

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It will be third time lucky for Ben McDermott when he makes his Vitality Blast debut in Hampshire’s T20 curtain-raiser against Middlesex on Friday.

The 27-year-old was initially scheduled to make his first T20 appearance in England for Derbyshire in 2020. The pandemic put paid to that.

McDermott did make it over last summer, but after playing twice for Derbyshire in the Championship was called up by Australia to make his ODI debut - meaning he took no part in the Blast campaign!

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Hampshire swooped in February to sign the big-hitting batter after he had been voted player of the series in the Australian Big Bash League.

Ben McDermott in BBL action for the Hobart Hurricanes. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.Ben McDermott in BBL action for the Hobart Hurricanes. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.
Ben McDermott in BBL action for the Hobart Hurricanes. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images.

McDermott finished as the tournament’s leading scorer - with 577 runs - after becoming the first batter in the tournament’s history to record back-to-back centuries.

Playing for the Hobart Hurricanes, he struck an unbeaten 110 off 60 balls against Adelaide on December 27 with 12 fours and five sixes.

Two days later, the son of former Australian Test bowler Craig smashed a career high 127 off 65 deliveries - nine fours and nine sixes - against Melbourne Renegades.

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Three games later, he had blitzed 93 off 61 balls against Brisbane Heat when he was dismissed.

His 577-run haul has only ever been surpassed in BBL history by three players, one of whom - D’Arcy Short - opened for Hampshire in last year’s Blast alongside skipper James Vince.

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In 97 T20 games, McDermott averages 32.10. But in 67 innings for Hobart, that figure rises to a hugely impressive 38.38 with three hundreds and 10 half-centuries.

McDermott will also keep wicket for Hampshire in the Blast, as he did for Hobart.

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Speaking to The News this week, he said: ‘What can I bring to the party? An ability to clear the fence, put pressure on the opposition bowlers.

‘I’m here to win as many games as possible.’

McDermott was handed his T20 international debut in October 2018, and has since made 23 appearances in the shortest format. He also made his ODI debut last summer, and in his fourth outing - against Pakistan in Lahore at the end of March - he struck his first international ton (104 off 108 balls).

He doesn’t want to be known as a T20 gun for hire; instead, he wants to emulate his father - 291 wickets in 71 Tests - on the ‘ultimate’ stage.

‘My goal is to play Test cricket,’ he said. ‘That means more to me. I don’t think I could do that if I’m missing a lot of first class games (due to T20 commitments). Test cricket is the ultimate goal.’

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With that in mind, McDermott would welcome a second chance to play county cricket. Before that, though, he is hoping to become a wildcard pick for one of the eight Hundred franchises.

He is no stranger to The Ageas Bowl, even if he’s never played a match there. That’s because he was based at the stadium in 2014 when he was part of the Elite International Sports Academy. Among his colleagues in the handful of matches played were Luke Webb and Mike Porter, who have been regulars for Bournemouth and Bashley in recent Southern Premier League seasons.

More recently, McDermott spent the 2018 English summer playing in the Surrey Premier League for East Molesey.