'Billy the Kid' is aiming high
CRICKET: He's the Australian tearaway odds on to conquer Shoaib Akhtar's pace record and with Ricky Ponting rating him a future superstar, Billy Stanlake has the world at his size 13 feet.
Stanlake, 23, already eclipses cricket's magical 150km/h barrier but the Adelaide Strikers spearhead boasts explosive upside. He is finally injury free and relishing the core strength required to sustain his 204cm frame and express pace.
"I will put the work in and as I get stronger and older I can see if I can push the boundaries a lot more,” Stanlake said.
Pakistan firebrand Akhtar hurled the fastest recorded delivery at 161.3 km/h against England at Newlands in 2003. South Australian Shaun Tait pushed Akhtar's mark with a 161.1km/h thunderbolt against England at Lord's in 2010.
"I will always want to aim for higher, I done it over the past couple of years even though I have had injuries,” said Stanlake, who has been restricted to two first-class games for Queensland due to back stress fractures.
"I have put a lot of work in to my body to allow that pace although it has been frustrating with injuries.
"I feel like I can continue to push a little bit higher, that is always the goal.”
Pat Cummins, 24, waited seven years between his first and second Tests for Australia, due to debilitating back and foot injuries, to lead this summer's Ashes wicket-tally (23).
Stanlake, like Cummins, has emerged from the dark of injury disillusion.
"We went through very similar injury paths,” said Stanlake, who was hospitalised by a serious toe infection in September.
"To see Pat doing so well across all forms gives a good sense I can play red ball cricket.”
"A lot of hard, strength and conditioning work has gone on behind the scenes with Paul Chapman, Queensland's strength and conditioning coach. I am catching up with my height, being 204cm at 16 years was a challenge to bowl. I am starting to see my body progress, mature and increased pace again.
Test legend Ponting, now assistant coach with the Australian T20 side, believes Stanlake can be a tour de force once his body hardens.
"We have been keeping a real close eye on him for a couple of years. His body just has to mature,” he said.
"Billy has all the natural attributes, can swing the new ball, everything you need to be one of the best bowlers in the world.”
Stanlake's last first-class match was against NSW in December 2015.
His workload has been limited by sports scientists to the concern of Strikers coach Jason Gillespie but Stanlake appreciates the balancing act.
"The medical staff have it mapped out. Hopefully I get back playing first-class cricket soon. You have to be smart with my history,” said Stanlake, who rattled and rolled Kevin Pietersen against Melbourne Stars on January 9.
"I've had 18 months without injury. If I get through this period I will be well on my way.”
Stanlake will miss the Strikers BBL semi-final clash against the Renegades on Friday night after being named in the Australian side for the T20 tri-series.
New Zealand are expected to cop the spearhead's fury in the series opener at teh SCG on Saturday.
"It is disappointing to miss the finals with the Strikers but it is an honour to play for your country,” said Stanlake, who made his one-day debut against Pakistan last January.
"It was a always goal to get back to the Aussie side."
Stanlake will join Strikers cult-figure Rashid Khan and David Warner at Hyderabad having earnt $97,000 in playmoney at the 2018 IPL auction.
"I thought it would be great to go back, being around the world's best players like AB de Villiers at Bangalore last year. Rashid is a special player,” Stanlake said.