Cricket’s Voges living dream in Caribbean

Many of his teammates will view it as just a tour match but for Adam Voges Australia’s three-day game in Antigua could be the biggest of his career.

The 35-year-old freely admits he thought the chance to play Test cricket had passed him by.

But then came a summer selectors simply couldn’t ignore.

The West Australian belted 1358 runs at 104.46 in the Sheffield Shield, a tally that was the fourth-highest single-season haul in the competition’s history.

It included six centuries and five 50s as well as his highest first class score of 249 against South Australia.

So many runs couldn’t be overlooked and the uncapped Voges was chosen in Australia’s squad to tour the Caribbean and England.

In a bid to keep his run of form going Voges headed to England before the Caribbean to play for Middlesex in the county championship.

In eight first class innings for Middlesex, Voges scored three 50s and another century.

But for all that, this week’s tour match is where the tall right-hander must perform.

Do well and a Test debut against the West Indies in Dominica appears almost certain, a scenario Voges is only too aware of.

“I understand how big an opportunity it is,” Voges said.

“It’s still just another game of cricket but I understand a good performance here will certainly do my cause no harm.

“I feel like I’m hitting the ball well so the quicker I can get out there, the better. I certainly look at this as a huge opportunity and hopefully can put my name forward.”

While Voges’ selection came at the expense of incumbent Joe Burns, his route to the Test team isn’t straightforward.

Captain Michael Clarke will return to the line-up after missing the last three Tests of the summer due to injury.

That means Voges appears to be in a shootout with fellow WA batsman Shaun Marsh if he wants to make his debut.

Voges says the example of opener Chris Rogers, now a mainstay of the lineup at 37 following his shock call-up for the 2013 Ashes, has been a motivator to keep chasing his Test dream.

“If I was honest with you 12 months ago I didn’t think I’d be standing here,” he said.

“I guess when Chris Rogers got selected on the back of big domestic runs, you always felt like there was still that chance if you scored a mountain of runs. There was always that glimmer of hope even if it felt like that chance had gone by.

“That selection in itself still gave me hope that selectors would reward performance. I still had to go and score a lot of runs but very happy for the opportunity.”

ENDLESS SUMMER – Adam Voges’ run-happy form

* Voges has 1809 runs at 86.14 in past 15 first-class matches

* Has scored 7 100s and 8 50s in that period

* Scored a career-high 249 against South Australia in February.

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