Beaton keen to show what he can do

Tom Beaton bats for the Melbourne Renegades. Photo: Getty Images
Tom Beaton bats for the Melbourne Renegades. Photo: Getty Images
Tom Beaton deserved better from the game he loves.

The Melbourne Renegades batsman sacrificed Christmas Day so he could jump on a plane in the wee hours and make his way from Melbourne to Alexandra to play for Otago the following day.

He was answering an SOS in a way. The Volts had been stripped of the services of premier batsman Neil Broom and talented all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who joined the Black Caps for the one-day series against Bangladesh

Beaton was drafted in at late notice to fill the void. His debut innings for the Volts was, well, brief.

He strolled out to bat for his newly adopted side which was in dire straits at 83 for five. Canterbury had posted 152 for eight and had control of the match.

Beaton carried the same burden all overseas professionals bear. They may as well bat or bowl in a cape because nothing short of heroics are what is generally expected.

So there he was, the 26-year-old right-hander getting his first look at Molyneux Park from a batsman's perspective and preparing for another first - a delivery from Canterbury legspinner Todd Astle.

All the odds were stacked against him, really. And he hovered back and was trapped lbw.

It is always a lonely walk back to the pavilion but even more so when the shirt you are wearing is the spare one with a blank space where a surname usually is.

Cricket can be a brutally unsentimental game but Beaton said he had recovered from the disappointment quickly and was looking forward to another opportunity to show what he is capable of when Otago plays Wellington at Molyneux Park today.

''You want to do the best for the team that you've come over to play for but that is just cricket at the end of the day,'' Beaton said.

''Sometimes you get [out first ball] but [today] it could be a 50 off 20 balls.

''If I had got 10 off six balls I would have probably been more angry because I wouldn't have given myself a chance. But there was not much I could have done [on Monday] other than hit the ball.''

Beaton did not blink when he was offered a two-game contract to come and play for Otago a couple of days before Christmas.

''It all happened very quick. I didn't have much time to think about it but it was a no-brainer, though, really.''

It was too good an opportunity to pass up. And with the Renegades enjoying a week's break before their next match in the Big Bash, there was nothing stopping Beaton jumping on a plane.

Beaton is from Perth and started his career with Western Australia. But he has played for the Renegades for three seasons and moved to Melbourne this year.

The Big Bash enjoys a much higher profile than the Super Smash in New Zealand but Beaton feels the standard was similar.

''I guess the thing that stands out here is probably the grounds and the crowds. We play in big stadiums and packed crowds come in but it is different here.

''There is more of a festive sort of feel to it. It is different but I still think the quality is there.''

If Beaton gets established today, then look out. He has a wonderful strike rate north of 140, so he can hit the ball.

And he may return for more than his contracted two games if he is not needed by the Renegades and Otago has a gap to fill again.

Wellington and Otago have named unchanged line-ups. Both sides will be desperate for a win.

Otago (12 points) is in fourth place, while Wellington (eight points) is last. With just three round-robin matches remaining before the playoffs, neither side can afford a loss.

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