On the morning of December 19, Ashton Turner woke up at 3 a.m. to the news that he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals at the IPL auction.
It would take another three months for the world to wake up to his talent. With an astonishing 84 not out off 43 balls, he led Australia to a four-wicket victory against India in the fourth ODI at Mohali in March.
Chasing a daunting 360, the visitors had 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.
That innings suddenly made the ₹50 lakh the Royals spent on him 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 The Hindu. “It was pretty exciting news to wake up to that morning.”
The 26-year-old he had been wanting to play at the IPL for quite some time. “It’s such an exciting competition,” he said. “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.”
The off-spinning all-rounder added it was great to wear pink and join the Royals camp. “Everyone here in the team has also been very hospitable,” he said. “I have a feeling we’ll go pretty deep in the tournament.”
Looking back at his most famous innings, he said: “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 said Mohali had a fantastic batting surface. “There was enough dew to give bowlers a disadvantage” he said. “I was able to pull off an almost T20-like innings that day.”
Turner said he wasn’t thinking too much about the World Cup at the moment. “With players like Steve Smith and David coming back, there’s going to be a lot of pressure for sealing your spot in the team,” he said.
“At this point, all I can do is to prepare to be a part of the squad and train well.”