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Cool, calm Renshaw to collect baggy green

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

No matter what sort of short-pitched bowling or sledging is served up to Matt Renshaw in the day-night Test, the 20-year-old debutant is unlikely to be flustered.

Renshaw is the freshest face in Australia's new-look XI, having played just 12 first-class games and recently moved out of home.

The Queensland opener is set for a baptism of fire against South Africa, whose star-studded pace attack will have the new ball hooping.

But Renshaw's composure and patience is what made selectors take notice - both state and national.

Renshaw was a 16-year-old schoolboy when he was called up to Toombul's first XI, debuting under the captaincy of former Test quick Ryan Harris and facing the likes of Ben Cutting and Dan Christian.

Renshaw played his first game for Queensland at age 18, breaking a record a year later when he became the state's youngest Sheffield Shield century-maker after spending almost nine hours at the crease against a NSW attack featuring Doug Bollinger.

Renshaw's ability to bat time, a trait he self-deprecatingly calls boring but is exactly what Australia need in a time of chaotic collapses, chirpy demeanour and cheeky grin has frustrated plenty of pacemen.

But rarely does the young gun lose his cool.

"I don't think anything bothers him," Harris told AAP.

"I haven't played with him at first-class level but talking to a few of the Queensland boys, he mucks around a bit and sometimes the opposition think he's having a go at them.

"It frustrates a few of them and they verbally go back at him, but he just brushes it off.

"He's obviously very, very young but he's cool and calm. I don't think any of that stuff, if the South Africans hit him with it, is going to bother him."

Harris added a level head could help Renshaw, Australia's youngest Test debutant since Phillip Hughes, flourish at the top level.

"If you go into Test cricket at age 20 and you're highly strung or really nervous that might affect the way you play," he said.

"But I don't think that will be the case here ... he's young but maturing very quickly. Hopefully it's the start of a long career."

Harris recalled Renshaw's technique is what stood out during one of the paceman's rare appearances for Toombul.

"It was good then and it's gotten even better during the last couple of years," he said.

National selector Mark Waugh agreed.

"He's actually got a very similar stance to Matthew Hayden, similar grip ... if he's half as good as Matthew Hayden we'll be happy," Waugh said on Fox Sports.

Renshaw has had to introduce himself to plenty of new teammates since landing in Adelaide, including skipper Steve Smith.

Renshaw and Smith will stand side by side in the slips cordon for Australia but Smith admits he had no idea what the left-hander looked like last week.

"I had to quietly ask a couple of the guys who had met Matt beforehand to make sure they pointed him out to me if he happened to walk past," Smith wrote in his blog on cricket.com.au

"Not that he's shown any signs of struggling to fit in."

Renshaw has a lot to learn and must quickly form a bond with the oldest member of Australia's XI, opening partner David Warner.

"Renners is a funny guy and that's going to be an interesting dynamic," Harris said.

"But I couldn't think of a better bloke to learn from than David Warner and if Warner asked him to jump, Renners will say how high."

Renshaw was born in Middlesbrough and also spent time growing up in Auckland. Like Harris, he had the choice to pursue a career in England but wanted to earn a baggy green.

"Half the people in Australian cricket have UK passports. It's irrelevant. I know people are calling him an Englishman but he's an Aussie," Harris said.

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