Good team culture key to Sean Abbott's rise
NEW South Wales all-rounder Sean Abbott credits a dramatic change in the Blues' team culture as the main reason for his call-up to the Australian Twenty20 and one-day squads, for the upcoming tour of the UAE.
The series against Pakistan begins with a T20 on October 6, followed by three one-dayers and two Tests.
Abbott mounted an irresistible case to make his international debut after an outstanding 2013-14 season, winning the Steve Waugh Medal as the Sheffield Shield champions' best player.
The 22-year-old picked up 27 wickets in the four-day game competition and he was the leading wicket-taker in the one-day cup - which NSW lost in the final to Queensland - with 16 scalps.
He also made some handy runs in the lower order, particularly in the one-dayers, averaging 32.
"Having Trevor Bayliss back as our (NSW) coach was great - he brought a good feeling throughout the whole team," Abbott told APN.
"There were so many great, experienced players willing to help me.
"For example, Doug Bollinger lives around the corner from me.
"We'd always drive to training together and he'd give me lots of advice."
Abbott showed he can be an excitement machine in the shorter formats with the bat last season, scoring 47 off 40
balls against Western Australia, and 50 off 42 against South Australia.
"Batting with a guy like Steve Smith was excellent for me. He'd just tell me to play my game, and I was always
encouraged to bat with freedom," he said.
Abbott recalled his selection into the Australian set-up with a laugh.
"My phone hasn't been in great nick lately - it hasn't been taking any voice messages," he said.
"So I got a voice-to-text message saying 'Hi Sean, it's Rod Bash here, could you please call me back?'
"I was with (Blues quick) Josh Hazlewood at the time and I said 'surely it must be (chief Australian selector) Rod Marsh'.
"But I was over the moon about it and super excited - I wasn't expecting it."