Father reveals reason for Matt Renshaw's success against Indian spinners

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Bengaluru, March 7: Exposure to spin at a very young age has helped Australia's opening batsman Matt Renshaw excel on Indian pitches in the ongoing series, his father Ian has revealed.

Series schedule; Photos; Day 3 report

England-born Renshaw, the 20-year-old left-hander, has been impressive so far against India. On his first tour to the country, Renshaw surprised all including his father by compiling two half centuries in the opening two Tests.

Matt Renshaw's parents Ian (right) and Alison at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday.

In the 4-match series opener in Pune, Renshaw scored 68 and 31 as Australia thrashed India by 333 runs for a 1-0 lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In the first innings in Bengaluru he made 60.

Renshaw's batting technique against Indian spinners earned him high praise from former cricketers and fans.

"We are surprised in a lot of ways. Obviously very pleased with the way he has gone so far," Renshaw's father Ian said as he watched the 2nd Test between the sides here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday (March 6).

Ian, who teaches sports science at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is his son's first coach. He had to move to New Zealand from England, for work. It was in New Zealand that Renshaw began his cricket career.

"Basically he was brought up in a cricket family. He was exposed to the game right from an early age. I played cricket in England, for Nottinghamshire Second XI. We left England when he was 7. He played junior cricket in New Zealand (Auckland). We moved to Australia when he was 10. He played junior cricket there as well. He started playing club cricket later and progressed further," Ian recalled.

Renshaw's parents Ian and Alison, who is a matchs teacher in a High School, have travelled to India to watch his son play the 2nd Test in Bengaluru. They could not make it to Pune due to work and will be heading back to Australia after the Bengaluru Test.

When asked the reason for moving from England to New Zealand, Ian said it was due to his work. "Wherever we went it was for my work," he said.

File photo: Matt Renshaw batting against India in Bengaluru Test

It was in backyard cricket that Renshaw honed his skills against spin. "I bowled a lot of offspin at him from he was quite little. I bowled everything at him when he was quite young. I bowled legspin, googlies, offspin, seamers. Upto to 8 or 9 years he played against tennis ball. He was able to pick my googly in backyard cricket against tennis/soft balls. I am not a good legspinner but still at young age he could pick all my variations. It was just the exposure of spin to him.

"He practised lot of driving down in the 'V' using his feet against the spin. We started this when he was 14. He played a lot of spin. I picked a tip from Greg Chappell, bowling slow offspin, work on your footwork and balance," Ian recalled.

According to Ian, Renshaw grew up idolising Alastair Cook and Michael Hussey. "Alastair Cook and Michael Hussey were his heroes when he started playing cricket at a young age. He did everything up untill 14, batted, bowled, kept wickets. He went into grade cricket at 13."

Renshaw made his Test debut against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval in November 2016. He is a batsman in the classical mould suited for the five-day format.

Renshaw senior said his son had the ability to bat for long since he was young and some people called it "boring". "Right from a young age he has batted for long. He has always been able to bat time since he was 13. He scored his first hundred when he was 11. In men's cricket he once batted all day for 37. Somebody said he is boring. He has always been able to bat for a long time."

When Renshaw was 10 years old, he fell off a bike and required surgery on his knee. However, now there is no problem with his knee but Renshaw senior gets worried whenever there is an injury to his knee.

"He fell off his bike when he was 10. Due to this, he had a knee ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)."

Renshaw, apart from playing at the highest level, is studying Journalism degree at QUT where his dad works.

Ian says his son is always calm and composed while batting but can be chatty while fielding. "Generally when he is batting he is cool but he can be chatty in the field. He is not going to go backwards. He is very Aussie, if somebody comes at him, he won't retreat. He will stand up for himself. There is no doubt about it," Ian signed off.

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