Rob Quiney is set to make his Test debut against South Africa in the opening Test in Brisbane, replacing an injured Shane Watson, and it is his consistency that has forced the selectors to take notice. John Inverarity and the others in Australia’s selection panel had noted Quiney’s achievements for Victoria over the past couple of seasons, and his knock of 85 against the South Africans in the recently concluded warm-up match further impressed them.
Quiney was named Australia’s Domestic Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal night in February 2011. He followed that up with a second successive Bill Lawry Medal as Victoria’s best first-class player of the season. It was apt recognition for a season in which he scored 938 Sheffield Shield runs at 49.36 and 310 at 44.28 in the Ryobi Cup.
“To start saying clichés, I’ve been working hard,” said Quiney to The Sledge, after being selected for Australia A in the tour match against the South Africans. “I probably work hard on more specific things rather than just hitting balls or just taking catches and trying to match intensity. If it gets tough in the nets, embrace it. If you can get through something like that and you get something like that in the middle, you can trust yourself to get through.”
In the interview, Quiney, now 30, says he’s mindful that time is of the essence. “A couple of years later, I could be out and it’s done and forgotten about,” he said. “I’m just trying to make the most of what I can.”
However, he isn’t one to sit by the phone when the squads are announced. “I’m purely concentrated on playing for Victoria or playing the next game, whether it’s for Victoria or the Sri Lanka Premier League or whatever game it is,” said Quiney. “I just keep staying hungry for runs and hopefully get some more team success.”
In addition to Victoria, Quiney also plays for the Melbourne Stars, Auckland Aces, Uthura Rudras and Rajasthan Royals but sees the traveling-out-of-a-suitcase lifestyle as an opportunity to experience different cultures. “I’ve got to travel to South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, England and to purely represent certain teams,” he said. “That’s the landscape of cricket at the moment. There are so many openings and I’m sure there’s going to be more Twenty20 leagues and more opportunities for other blokes to do something similar. I’m very lucky to be in this job.”
Playing in T20 leagues around the world has also given Quiney a chance to compete alongside the heavyweights of the game. But long before he shared a dressing room with Muttiah Muralitharan in the SLPL, Quiney recalls facing the off-spinner on his debut for Victoria against a World XI. “I was very nervous at the start and when I went out to bat I was nervous times four,” he said. “I had to face Murali in one of those overs for a little bit. Unfortunately I got only two or three runs but you walk off and you go what the hell just happened. It was all a blur but it was good fun.”
Quiney has come a long way since that debut and he is more than willing to take on the additional responsibility that comes with being a senior player. “I’m trying to take on a little bit more responsibility, performance-wise,” he said.
Brad Hodge’s retirement from domestic one-day cricket cricket has left Victoria with big shoes to fill that will require more than one batsman to step up. “I’d like to be able to do that and that’s through consistency which is something I’m working on,” said Quiney. “I’m just looking forward to taking responsibility, and not just getting a 50, 60, or 100 and being happy with that but going on and being there till the end.”