Nathan Coulter-Nile wondered if he was going to play for Australia again

Nathan Coulter-Nile wondered if he was going to play for Australia again

And here he is, in India, starting off brightly as he bowled a devastating opening spell taking three wickets on Sunday, in the first ODI.

Nathan Coulter-Nile of Australia celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli
Nathan Coulter-Nile of Australia celebrates the wicket of Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Nathan Coulter-Nile’s journey in cricket is particularly a roller coaster ride because, for him being a top-class limited overs bowler was not enough. He was regular feature of Australian cricket team and one of those bowlers who could take the Aussie pace bowling attack to a different level, however, Nathan Coulter-Nile‘s career has never taken off due to being excessively prone to injuries.

His association with injuries didn’t seem to end since September 2015 when he suffered a hamstring injury to miss the ODI series against England. Soon after that, he dislocated his shoulder while playing in the Big Bash League which ruled him out of an Australia comeback with a Test debut against the West Indies. To add to it, the seamer suffered a lower back issue in 2016 to rule him out of the Sri Lankan tour.

After a lengthy rehabilitation period, Coulter-Nile returned to play in the IPL where he claimed 15 wickets in eight matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders. His selection for the national side was still uncertain but it was only after he finished with his share of injuries that he got a chance to make a comeback following Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s injuries. And here he is, in India, starting off brightly as he bowled a devastating opening spell taking three wickets on Sunday, in the first ODI.

“There were definitely periods where I wondered if I was ever going to play for Australia again,” Coulter-Nile told cricket.com.au after taking 3/44 in the first ODI in Chennai. “I was always confident I could play for WA (Western Australia) and get through a domestic season. That’s a lot easier than the rigours and travel of playing for Australia. But it’s yet to be seen if I can get through an Aussie tour yet.

“I thought long and hard about [giving up first-class cricket] and I ended up trying to give it another crack. After talking to JL (Justin Langer) and a few blokes, I think it’d just be mad to give up the dream at 29.”

“I think it’s the dream of every kid playing in Australia,” he said. “It’s not about earning money in the IPL, it’s about playing Test cricket and representing your country on the big stage.”

One man’s loss is another man’s gain

Coulter-Nile has only played 17 ODIs and as many T20s in his five years in cricket but sees himself up there with the likes of Starc, Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in the pecking order. With injuries being a frequent visitor in the Aussie bowling unit, it is sensible that Australia doesn’t rule out the rest of their bowlers out for long. One man’s loss could be another man’s gain, as it was in Nathan Coulter-Nile’s case.

“I’m up near with them, but I’m not up with them,” he said. “But it’s the nature of cricket that those blokes aren’t fit all the time … which is why I’ve got the chance here. I’ve just got to be fit at the right time to get a break, I guess. My goals this year are to purely play well for WA (Western Austalia). I’m confident I can get through for WA and just get my body into some sort of shape to play for Australia consistently,” he added.