Moving to a new residence can often be a hassle, but for Matthew Short, it turned out to be one of the most impactful decisions of his life.
Currently, he is the most in-form batter in Australian domestic cricket, having recently made his debut in international T20I and ODI matches. However, just 18 months ago, he found himself at a crossroads in his cricketing career.
In the winter of 2022, Short had been a professional cricketer for Victoria for eight years. At the age of 26, he had played 62 first-class innings and had managed to score just one century. That solitary century came against England in a tour game for a Cricket Australia XI back in 2017, during a practice match in Townsville leading up to an Ashes series. On top of this, Short had never scored a century in Sheffield Shield cricket and held an average of just 30.38 in 55 innings. In List A cricket, he had no centuries in 46 innings, and he had never hit a T20 century, with only five fifties in 50 innings.
Fast forward to 2023, and Short has notched up six centuries across various formats, including one in the BBL, two in the Marsh Cup, and three in Sheffield Shield cricket. He was even named the Player of the Tournament in the BBL, and he played in high-profile leagues like the IPL and the Hundred. Short also represented Australia in white-ball cricket, all of this happening after he relocated closer to Victoria’s training facility at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.
Short attributes his remarkable turnaround to more than just changing his location. He admits that about 12 to 18 months ago, he wasn’t putting in as much effort into training. However, moving closer to the training facility and making some personal sacrifices in recent months helped him refocus on training and put in the extra work required to turn his career around.
Despite his earlier struggles, Short possesses an ideal set of skills for the modern game, being a tall and powerful ball striker with exceptional hand-eye coordination, excellent fielding abilities, and skillful offspin bowling. His talent was evident from a young age, which is why he had so many opportunities in his earlier years without the pressure to perform for his place.
Natural talent can take you only so far in cricket. Matthew Short’s journey to becoming one of Australia’s top performers has been marked by a commitment to hard work, better decision-making, and mental fortitude. His coach, Chris Rogers, has emphasized the importance of young players “taking the stairs and not the elevator” to reach the pinnacle of Australian cricket.
Short has achieved his transformation by dedicating more hours to training, refining his game plan, and paying extra attention to recovery and physical conditioning. This has allowed him to sustain his performance levels over the past six to 12 months. Moreover, Short acknowledges the significance of the mental aspect of his game. He has benefited from the trust and freedom given to him by his coaches, Chris Rogers at Victoria and Jason Gillespie at the Adelaide Strikers, allowing him to play in his natural, aggressive style, which has proven effective.
Assuming greater responsibility has also played a crucial role in Short’s development. He has transitioned from being an inconsistent player to a senior figure relied upon by both Victoria and the Strikers. Short’s contributions at the top of the order for the Strikers, especially in the absence of key players like Alex Carey and Travis Head, have been vital. He has also taken up the challenge of bowling powerplay overs. For Victoria, Short thrived when tasked with added responsibilities due to the absence of Marcus Harris, Peter Handscomb, and Nic Maddinson.
Furthermore, Short has gained valuable experience playing in international leagues, representing Punjab Kings in the IPL and Northern Superchargers in the Hundred. These experiences have broadened his perspective and honed his skills, allowing him to perform consistently at the highest level of the game.
Returning to Victoria’s cricket team after his stint with the Australian national side, including an impressive 66 off 30 balls in his second T20I against South Africa, Matthew Short found himself in a position where his state team was facing early-season struggles. However, he promptly made an impact with back-to-back centuries against Queensland in Mackay.
Being an international player, albeit in replacement roles, has allowed Short to experience the added pressure and responsibility of being a player that teams rely on for crucial performances, whether it’s scoring runs or taking wickets. This experience at the international level has influenced his approach when representing Victoria, where he now sees himself as a key contributor relied upon to set up victories.
In addition to his batting prowess, Short’s bowling skills have also seen significant development under the guidance of Victoria’s spin coach, Craig Howard. This multi-faceted skill set positions him as a triple threat in all three formats of the game.
With Australia’s white-ball teams heading into a transition phase, Short recognizes that his excellent form couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Looking ahead, he is aware of upcoming subcontinental Test tours for Australia in Sri Lanka in early 2025 and India in early 2027. Short’s versatile skill set would make him a valuable asset on such tours.
Short remains modest about his prospects but acknowledges that consistent performances can lead to opportunities, especially during times of change in Australian cricket. Whether it’s in white-ball or red-ball cricket, he aims to focus on performing and contributing to Victoria’s victories, with an eye on potential future opportunities.
His immediate focus is on the upcoming match against New South Wales at the MCG, where they aim to bounce back after suffering consecutive innings defeats at the start of the Sheffield Shield season. The return of Will Pucovski is expected to bolster Victoria’s lineup as they seek to turn their fortunes around.