Fraser-McGurk – The six-hitting machine from Box Hill

Sam Rainbird is an experienced left-arm pace bowler from Tasmania. He has played over a decade of professional cricket and would have come across enough power-hitters during that time. But, last year, the Tasmanian cricketer was at the receiving end of some of the most brutal range hitting seen in the recent past. It was the young Jake Fraser-MuGurk, who played a blinder, scoring the fastest List A hundred off just 29 deliveries.

The sequence of the six deliveries in the second over of South Australia’s innings went as follows – 6, 6, 6, 4, 4, 6. With a bat-up method, Fraser-McGurk stood tall and pulled the left-arm bowler via midwicket or smacked him through the line. It wasn’t even authentic pulls, but more of a hybrid shot where he took the deliveries on the up. In other words, it was range hitting at its very best.

Billy Stanlake, Bradley Hope and Patrick Dooley too were met with the same fate before he finally fell for an astounding 125 off just 38 deliveries. That breezy innings also illustrates how Fraser-McGurk goes about his business of exploring every nook and cranny of the ground. In the ongoing Indian Premier League, Fraser-McGurk has built on his recent exploits by scoring 247 runs and more importantly at a hair-raising strike rate of 237.50. In fact, he has the best strike rate among those batters who have accumulated more than 200 runs this season. 

He reaffirmed his credentials in the just-concluded game against Mumbai Indians. Once more he stuck to his plan of thwacking almost every ball through the line. At one point of time, he even looked like breaking Chris Gayle’s record for the quickest hundred in the history of Indian Premier League before he was dismissed by Piyush Chawla. Yes, the conditions have been excellent for batting, but Fraser-McGurk and a few others are clearly setting a new benchmark in T20 cricket. The target is clear for an opener – Eye 100 runs in the PowerPlay. 

A little more than four years ago, Fraser-McGurk was selected in the Under-19 Australian Squad for the Under-19 World Cup held in South Africa. Just that, he had to return home after being scratched on the face by a monkey at a nature reserve while on an outing after his national side had emerged victorious  over England in Kimberley. 

Fraser-McGurk had already made an impression in that World Cup with a brisk 84 versus the West Indies Under-19, where he had even brought out a stroke that resembled MS Dhoni’s famous helicopter shot. Unfortunately, in a few days’ time, he was in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Fraser-McGurk is hogging the headlines for his six-hitting prowess and is giving sleepless nights to the bowlers in the slam-bang world of IPL. His stellar performances could just serve as a foundation stone for the promising cricketer to make it big in the shortest format of the game.