Net gains: Moises Henriques.AUSTRALIA’S latest Test sensation, Moises Henriques, is days away from cashing in on his successful ascent to Michael Clarke’s side, with the NSW all-rounder to be upgraded to a full Cricket Australia contract.
The 26-year-old’s standout debut with the bat – scoring 68 and 81 not out – was a silver lining in the eight-wicket loss to India in the first Test in Chennai, belying his inexperience at the highest level and emerging as a potentially key figure on this tour and back-to-back Ashes series later this year.
After landing a place in the extended squad to the subcontinent, Henriques was not necessarily expected to feature in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, but having impressed when given a chance he is set for an immediate windfall.
By playing in the second Test, which begins on Saturday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, he will accrue the points required to qualify for an upgrade to the CA contract list and be automatically eligible for the $230,000 minimum retainer.
The qualification system allows players not already centrally contracted to be rewarded for international appearances on top of the performance payments of $14,000 per Test, $5600 for a one-day international and $4200 for a Twenty20.
The magic number for an upgrade is 12 points: five for a Test, two for an ODI and one for Twenty20.
Henriques, having played three matches in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka this summer, is on 11 points.
In the first Test, only Clarke was able to combat India’s spin bowlers as effectively as Henriques, suggesting he could bat further up the order than No. 7.
But the captain was quick to water down expectations on the Portuguese-born newcomer despite being highly impressed by his debut.
”He could bat three if we wanted him to,” Clarke said. ”It’s his first Test match though and we don’t want to put too much pressure on him. He played really well in his first Test match. Now it’s about consistency.”
Henriques was not as successful with the ball on a Chennai wicket that made life difficult for seamers, but with Shane Watson playing as a batsman only in India, his presence adds balance that would otherwise be missing.
While Australia was beaten in Chennai, the inclusion of Henriques proved a shrewd move.
”I just think the maturity he showed was amazing,” coach Mickey Arthur said.
”I thought he was outstanding. That was very, very pleasing because it gives you that third or fourth seamer, and it gives you another batsmen. Let’s hope he goes from strength to strength.”
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