Opener Matthew Renshaw has hailed his good friend, left-handed batter Usman Khawaja's influence which has now led to him gaining a recall into the Australian Test team for the upcoming Sydney Test against South Africa starting from January 4.
Renshaw received his first call-up to the Australian Test squad since 2018 when he was named in the team for the third Test against South Africa alongside left-arm spin all-rounder Ashton Agar in place of injured duo Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green.
Renshaw last played a Test match for Australia in March 2018 when he and Joe Burns were rushed from Sheffield Shield title-winning celebrations Queensland's play in Johannesburg Test after Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
"He's someone I'm quite close to. I call him my life coach. He hasn't accepted the role, but unfortunately for him, it's not a role that you can accept - it's just given to you. He knows me quite well, he knows when I'm up or down, and knows when I need to be checked in line as well," Renshaw was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Saturday.
With Marcus Harris already in the Australia Test squad as a backup opener, Renshaw could slot in the middle-order and add to his 11 appearances in the longest format if the team management doesn't get a second spinner in Agar to partner alongside premier off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Renshaw's resurgence story is an interesting one, especially after the left-handed batter failed to retain his Cricket Australia contract in 2019/20. He would hit a new low when he was dropped from Queensland's Shield side in 2020.
It needed a mental and technical shift to get back into the red-ball scheme of things at the state level and eventually, the Australian team. "A lot of it is mental. A lot of work away from Queensland cricket, away from the Brisbane Heat, away from Australian cricket, just doing some of my own stuff, which has really helped me."
"I just sort of grounded myself. As a 20-year-old, I still was't sure who I was at that point. I was trying to be someone else, trying to be what people wanted me to be. So just making sure I myself has seemed to have worked in the last few years."