It’s indicative of the life led by many modern cricketers that fewer than 24 hours after winning the Big Bash with the Melbourne Renegades, Harry Gurney finds himself at an airport heading, not for home, but to Dubai.
The Nottinghamshire left-armer has barely had a chance to digest the enormity of his most recent achievement before leaving Aussies shores to take part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
When he’s there, perhaps he will have a minute to reflect on a truly extraordinary stint with the Renegades, that culminated in the franchise’s triumph over the Melbourne Stars at the aptly named Marvel Stadium on Sunday evening.
Gurney took ten wickets for the 2019 champions, with those wickets coming at a cost of just 24. Most impressive, though, was an economy rate of seven, which would have been seen as sky high when the 32-year-old began his career at Leicestershire. Now it’s below the norm, which is partly why Gurney made such a huge impression in this year’s tournament.
And he will return to Trent Bridge, albeit in a rather roundabout fashion via Dubai and then India, in the knowledge that he has played in one of the biggest matches in world cricket and shown, once again, that he can handle the big occasion.
“The final was probably a bit more loud and raucous than Lord’s but it wasn’t dissimilar to a T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston,” he says. “To play at a stadium like that and to see it packed out was obviously great.
“I would have backed myself to have performed like that three or four years ago but I do think that I’ve improved every year, particularly as a bowler in T20 cricket. The more exposure you have to these competitions then that can only help your game too.
“When I played my two T20 internationals for England back in 2014 (against Sri Lanka and India), I think I bowled pretty well. I think I’ve always been a good T20 bowler but I reckon I am getting better year-on-year.”
It’s hard to argue with that assessment following a Big Bash stint that saw him impressively bear the additional responsibility of being the Renegades’ main overseas player.
His figures of 1-20 off four beautifully executed overs in the final also illustrate the nerve that he showed when his side needed it most. It’s a quality that Nottinghamshire members will readily acknowledge and he’ll now hope that he can continue this golden run, first in the PSL and then with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
He must then hope that England take note.
Gurney hasn’t played for his country since December 2014, when he went for 60 off nine overs in the sweltering heat of Colombo in the final match of a marathon seven-match series against Sri Lanka.
That was his tenth and, to date at least, final ODI appearance for England.
Since then, he has had to watch from the outside as England have developed into one of the most feared sides in global 50-over cricket. But with a T20 World Cup also looming, Gurney believes he has what it takes to force his way back into England’s thinking.
“There’s a T20 World Cup coming up in Australia in 2020 and I would be lying if I said it hadn’t crossed my mind,” he says. “I want to be playing as much T20 cricket as I possibly can and if the call-up comes then that would be amazing. But it’s not at the front of my mind at the moment.
“I’ve got a foot in the door in the world of franchise cricket and I really want to try to nail that now over the next couple of years. I’ll have to see where that takes me.
“I’m looking forward to everything that’s coming my way. It’s really exciting.”
And that excitement – for all involved – is why T20 cricket has become the sport’s dominant format, offering players like Gurney the opportunity to travel the world and take part in competitions which have taken off in a way that few envisaged when the format was first introduced over 15 years ago.
As Gurney says, though, it’s not always good for the nerves.
“I think the semi-final and the final were great games for the neutral,” he says.
“I’m a nervous watcher so I was pacing around in the dressing room for the run chase in the semi – I couldn’t sit down.
“In the final we were in the field so I felt much more at home. They were two great spectacles and two absolutely great games to be a part of.”
He will hope there are plenty more huge occasions ahead.
RICHARD EDWARDS / Photo: Getty Images
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