With Australia boasting a production line of star quicks, Xavier Bartlett was not even dreaming of playing international cricket this summer.
But the 25-year-old Queenslander is now a leading candidate for Australia’s white-ball attacks after having a debut to remember.
Bartlett (4-17) claimed the second-best figures by an Australian man on ODI debut to be player of the match in the eight-wicket rout of the West Indies at the MCG on Friday night.
However, Bartlett will have to wait until at least Tuesday to make his second appearance for Australia after selectors opted to rest him for Sunday’s ODI at the SCG.
Management are taking a cautious approach with the seamer, who dealt with a frustrating back injury earlier in the season.
Josh Hazlewood has been called into the squad for the second ODI after being rested along with fellow pace stars Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who remain out.
Incredibly, Friday’s match against the Windies was Bartlett’s first 50-over game at any level since September 2022.
He was a key member of Brisbane Heat’s drought-breaking BBL title win this season.
“Oh, definitely not,” said Bartlett when asked if he thought he would be playing for Australia this summer.
“We’ve got so many great fast bowlers at the moment.
“Obviously, (Mitchell) Starc, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Pat) Cummins are probably the top three to ever do it for Australia or in that conversation.
“Then I only really got my chance through Jhye Richardson’s injury and Nathan Ellis was injured as well.
“There’s definitely a long list of people in front of me.
“But I’ve just got to keep trying to do my best for Queensland, and if I get an opportunity at the higher level just try and take it and just sort of almost learn as much as I can as well along the way.”
Making his rise even more memorable, Bartlett was injured at the start of the summer.
“I didn’t have a chance to play any domestic cricket, which was a frustrating time,” he said.
“But you can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel and you’ve just got to keep trying to work hard because these days don’t happen very often.”
West Indies captain Shai Hope admitted he knew little about Bartlett before the match apart from watching some vision.
“Not the quickest, but as we see you don’t need pace to be disruptive,” Hope said.
“He was very, very consistent.”
BEST FIGURES BY AN AUSTRALIAN MAN ON ODI DEBUT
1. Tony Dodemaide 5-21 v Sri Lanka 1988
2. Xavier Bartlett 4-17 v West Indies 2024
3. Stuart MacGill 4-19 v Pakistan 2000
4. Carl Rackemann 4-39 v New Zealand 1983
5. Xavier Doherty 4-46 v Sri Lanka 2010