Who is Kyle Jamieson in the New Zealand setup? A new-ball bowler? A batting all-rounder? A wicket-taker or just a genuine extra in New Zealand’s T20 scheme of things? At the moment, it certainly looks like Jamieson is an extra that the Kiwis could avoid, especially considering their strength.
Despite boasting the world’s best talents, New Zealand have never come close to challenging other sides for the World T20 title - something that they would love to erase in 2021, in India. And their series against Australia, the five-match series certainly paints the picture that they are serious and worthy of being a proper-contender for the trophy.
Not because they have the world’s best talents but because they are continuously evolving in the shortest format as a team and not as individuals. And then walks in Kyle Jamieson, arguably New Zealand’s biggest talent in recent history - having already made all the right noises in the longest format. When someone as tall as him has adjusted to the tall needs of the Test cricket, how would the shortest format worry him?
The shortest format certainly didn’t worry Jamieson, instead, it was New Zealand’s setup, which doesn’t allow for another new-ball bowler, with the availability of both Trent Boult and Tim Southee in the setup. While Boult and Southee have shown thus far in the series that what makes New Zealand a dangerous side and the country - a dangerous place for visitors - owing to the swing and seam on offer, where does Jamieson fit in the scheme of things?
Kyle Jamieson this series— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) March 3, 2021
11 overs | One wicket | ER 11.45
To be fair to Jamieson, he is a genuine new ball bowler (56% overs in PP). But because of Boult & Southee, he has come on to bowl only in 6th over in two of the three games this series.#NZvAUS
Well, in the longest format, he has picked up 36 wickets at an astonishing average of 13.27; has established himself as a vital cog in the setup and more often than not, has shown no signs of vulnerability - whatsoever - with the bat or the ball. But when it comes to the shortest format, you blink; you miss; you miss; you end up looking bad. This is exactly the pattern that transpired in the ongoing series against Australia, where Jamieson has looked far off from even establishing himself as a T20 batsman or a bowler. He has done neither.
Now, the integral part of this debate isn’t his quality but his value and addition in the shortest format. With Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne, one out of the squad with an injury and the other kept out of the playing XI by Jamieson, New Zealand have two premier pacers - two extra yards of a thunderbolt - something that the Kiwis don’t have in their arsenal at the moment with the duo of Southee and Boult.
"He is still working on his basic fundamentals around the T20 game - The ability to bowl the yorker, the straight yorker and the wide yorker is like a gold dust. If he can consistently execute that under pressure... something that he is pretty aware of and something that he is keen to work on. As important as that is to ensure he doesn't become predictable. I mean he has got a couple of specific work-ons. From an action perspective, he is confident now where he needs to be at this stage. As a person and a cricketer, he wants to get better every day,"
Heinrich Malan to Cricbuzz
As his Auckland Aces’ coach Heinrich Malan has mentioned, Jamieson has a long way to go in the shortest format, has to continuously evolve himself, with an eye of sealing the berth, either as a bowling all-rounder or a batting all-rounder but at the moment, he is neither - not solving any problem for the Kiwis but instead forcing a new problem for them, out of nowhere.
While Jamieson does learn his trade quickly, it won’t guarantee that he will be bowling those bolts at 150 clicks, something that their bowling attack dearly lacks. At least the longest format does show your mercy, reaping you rewards for the back of length deliveries but T20, a rapid-paced game doesn’t show you mercy; certainly doesn’t guarantee that you would succeed. But why would that concern him?
The simple fact remains that the lanky pacer isn’t yet T20 ready, at least in a New Zealand team, which has all ingredients to become a world-beater in the shortest format. That combined with their lack of trust in him as a finisher, thus far in the series, where he has batted below Tim Southee, it is stunning to see his usage as a bowling all-rounder. With Jimmy Neesham fulfilling the role effortlessly, having Jamieson in the playing XI is nothing but an extra!
Having played three games thus far in the series, having bowled 11 overs against the Australian batting order, the tall Auckland pacer has just picked the solitary wicket. That’s not it all, an economy rate of 11.45, second-worst among the Kiwi bowlers, just behind Neesham, at an average of nearly 126, has made the heads turn. In a blink-and-miss kind of format, the outrageous numbers certainly suggest that he isn’t a sure-shot starter in the T20 format but an extra that doesn’t fit in the scheme of things.
Barring the first game, where he picked up a wicket, in the next two games, the Australian batsmen have found easy ways to tackle him and he couldn’t evolve himself in such a short notice of time - something that T20 cricket has always kept a keen eye on. While it might be a learning curve for him, come to the IPL, the expectations naturally are bound to increase in multi-folds. If he doesn’t evolve in time, for the IPL, naturally the eyebrows are set to be raised and expectations, certainly - not to be met.
Until then, spells of 0/38, 0/56 and 1/32 won’t suffice. And if you dig deep further, spells of 1/22, 0/43, 2/15 and 0/26, only suggests that he is currently just an extra in the entire Kiwi’s scheme of things.