IPL connection has Jayawardena keeping close eye on Tim David
David is likely to make his international debut for Australia during their upcoming three-match series against India that commences on Tuesday, with the 26-year-old expected to take a spot in the middle-order in the absence of injured all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.
It will cap a dramatic recent rise for David, who represented Singapore at international level in 2019 and 2020, before rising to prominence with standout performances during domestic T20 stints in Australia, Pakistan and India.
Jayawardena and Mumbai obviously saw enough in those domestic tournaments as they splashed Rs 8.25 crore on the tall all-rounder just to ensure he was in their side at the IPL this year and he rewarded their faith by scoring 186 runs at an impressive strike rate of 216.27 despite only featuring in eight matches.
Of the 86 deliveries David faced for Mumbai, 16 were hit for sixes and that kind of form meant Australia selectors had almost no choice but to include him in their squad for the series against India and the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup.
Jayawardena believes David is well placed to have a similar impact at international level for Australia and is tipping him to thrive over the coming months.
"I think he is going to have free range (to score freely) and the good thing is that there are no expectations on him," Jayawardena told host Sanjana Ganesan on the most recent episode of The ICC Review.
"Personally, I think that’s a great space to be in.
"Australia have a very, very good line-up and Tim is going to bring that little bit of x-factor if they want to use that at the No.6 role, which they need a big hitter and explosive hitter.
"So, brilliant for Australia to fall back on someone like that, having those options."
David managed scores of just 12 and one during Mumbai's opening two matches at the IPL this year and Jayawardena left the Australian out of his XI for the next portion of the tournament as he attempted to reinvigorate the franchise.
But mixed results saw David re-instated into the Mumbai line-up later in the tournament and the tall all-rounder responded with scores of 20*, 44*, 13, 16*, 46 and 34 in the final six matches of their campaign.
Jayawardena said David took the disappointment of his omission well and the fact that he moved on so quickly after the bad news is a good trait to have as a player.
"The game is very simple to him," Jayawardena noted.
"Two years ago, three years ago, he was just a club cricketer, playing club cricket, playing league cricket in England.
"And then all of a sudden through franchise cricket, he has come to life.
"So the game is still simple for him and it’s not too complicated. He just backs his ability and plays his natural game.
"He leaves his last game pretty quickly and moves on to the next which is a great ability for a player to have and because of the way he has been playing cricket from one franchise tournament to another franchise tournament, I think that’s an adaptable ability he has.
"He has gotten used to so it’s great going into a World Cup, he is not going to think too much, he is just going to go and seize his opportunity and see what he can do."
Jayawardena expects David to be able to cope well to the pressures of high-class international cricket, provided he maintains his simplistic approach to the game.
"He has been sharing dressing rooms with many big names in other dressing rooms in franchise cricket ... he is a big boy and he can manage himself in a dressing room," Jayawardena said.
"The biggest thing is that as long as he doesn’t put himself under pressure representing Australia for the first time, in a World Cup is going to be an occasion for them, for him and for his family and for all his friends.
"So, as long as that doesn’t affect him, he will be fine."
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