There are only a few things in men’s cricket as tragi-comical as a batter getting hit in the box.

On the one hand, you have a collective wince from the men folk, which is often followed by a muffled laugh as the afflicted party struggles to get back going.

On Tuesday, Delhi Capitals opener Jake Fraser-McGurk was at the receiving end of one such nasty experience against Rajasthan Royals pacer Trent Boult.  

Fraser-McGurk’s misfortune was a direct outcome of a ploy by the Royals to keep the in-form Aussie batter quiet. Boult, who usually operates over the wicket against right-handers, went around the wicket to him for the first over of the game with two catchers in the deep on the leg side. 

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Royals’ idea was to angle the ball into Fraser-McGurk, forcing him to swipe across the line and denying him room to free his arms. The ploy worked to the T as the DC opener got just two runs off the first four balls, with the fourth being the one that almost made the young batter question why he took up this sport. 

A lengthy break followed as Fraser-McGurk rolled gradually onto his feet, with DC physios, who were trying their best to hold their laughter, attending to him. 

One can never be certain what happened in that huddle, but Fraser-McGurk emerged out of it like a man reborn as he re-found his boundary-hitting ability. The first ball after the break, Boult stuck to his line. But now the DC batter shuffled away to the leg side before carving it over mid-off.

What followed could be described as carnage as Fraser-McGurk waltzed from 2 off 4 balls to a fifty in 19 balls, scoring seven fours and three sixes. Six of those boundaries came in a 28-run over against Avesh Khan, who had a day to forget. 

One could say that Fraser-McGurk after that Boult hit, went a little ‘nuts’ as he laid the platform for his side’s win at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. 

But to anyone who has been following the 22-year-old Aussie batter for a while, this was a pretty standard knock from him. 

Playing his debut IPL season, Fraser-McGurk has scored 309 runs at an average of 44.14 and a mind-blowing strike rate of 235.87. 

Fraser-McGurk waltzed from 2 off 4 balls to a fifty in 19 balls, scoring seven fours and three sixes.

Fraser-McGurk waltzed from 2 off 4 balls to a fifty in 19 balls, scoring seven fours and three sixes.
| Photo Credit:


Fraser-McGurk waltzed from 2 off 4 balls to a fifty in 19 balls, scoring seven fours and three sixes.
| Photo Credit:

KKR’s Andre Russell (2019) is the only batter who has finished an IPL season with more than 300 runs and a 200+ strike rate. It would be a surprise if Fraser-McGurk fails to beat that mark at the end of this season. 

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In seven innings in the tournament, he has also scored four fifties, with three of them coming in less than 20 balls. No one in the history of the competition has as many such fifties. 

Fraser-McGurk’s form extends beyond IPL. Over the last two years, he has scored 715 T20 runs around the globe at a better strike rate (183.80) than anyone who has scored more than 400 runs. The right-handed batter has smashed 54 sixes in 24 innings during the period. 

Despite his astounding form, Fraser-McGurk though found himself outside the Australian squad for the T20 World Cup. It was a selection decision which confounded many, including DC head coach and former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting. 

“Everyone who has seen Jake over the last couple of weeks has been impressed. I have been observing him for the last couple of years, back in Australian domestic cricket. So, I am not surprised with what I have seen [from him],” said Ponting ahead of DC’s game against the Royals. 

“He is an ultra-talented kid and he turns up and works hard on his game. He is always trying to get better, and he will have his chances going forward. I was a little bit surprised that he wasn’t picked for the Australian squad. Look at what Travis Head and Jake have done this IPL, and imagine those two walking out open together. That would be entertaining,” added Ponting. 

Fraser-McGurk, though seems to be losing no sleep following his non-selection. 

“There’s two ways you can look at it. You can look at it through, ‘This is what I’ve done to prove my case,’ and then there’s also, ‘Look, a month-and-a-half ago I wasn’t even in the picture,’” the 22-year-old Victorian told The Willow Talk podcast.

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“It didn’t bother me a hell of a lot because I wasn’t in this position to feel like I’ve earned that yet. World Cup cricket is a lot different to IPL and franchise cricket,” he added. 

If the Royals game is anything to go by, Fraser-McGurk isn’t one to be ‘boxed’ in. And at this rate, it is only a matter of time before the 22-year-old takes up his flame-throwing batting methods to the shores of international cricket permanently.