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Sport Aussie whiz kid shows early signs of greatness

02:35  07 november  2019
02:35  07 november  2019 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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a man holding a baseball bat: Cameron Green celebrates a wicket for Western Australia.© Getty Cameron Green celebrates a wicket for Western Australia. He's just joined an elite list of players to make a Sheffield Shield hundred for his state before turning 21, but a Western Australian legend says expectations need to be tempered around emerging all-rounder Cameron Green.

With a batting average of 37 and a bowling average of 21 after his first nine Shield games, the 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout match with the bat earlier this week, making 87 not out and 121 not out against Queensland at the Gabba.

It was his second innings century that really caught the eye, coming in at number nine, with his side staring down the barrel of an innings defeat. With Western Australia 7-53 and still 26 runs short of making Queensland bat again, Green spent more than four hours at the crease, his first Shield century ensuring WA escaped with a draw.

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He became just the 11th player ever to make a Shield century for WA before his 21st birthday, joining names such as Mike Hussey, Damien Martyn and former Australian captain Bob Simpson in achieving such a feat.

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Former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris, now a Cricket Australia high-performance coach, has likened Green to English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, the man who played a pivotal role in England's 2005 Ashes victory.

Green has already shown his prowess with the ball, becoming the youngest player in the competition's 127-year history to take a five-for on debut, when he claimed 5-24 against Tasmania as a 17-year-old in 2017.

"That's as good a spell as I've ever seen from someone in their debut game," said then-WA coach Justin Langer after Green had ripped through the Tasmanian line-up.

"His first innings was quite extraordinary really, to bowl fast bouncing outswingers at 17-years-old, that was the highlight."

Australia has only produced one player in the last 60 years who has averaged over 35 with the bat in Test cricket (minimum 2000 runs) and under 35 with the ball (minimum 50 wickets), and that was the much-maligned Shane Watson, who retired four years ago.

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Since then, the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Hilton Cartwright and Moises Henriques have been tried and discarded, in the case of Marsh multiple times.

But the last man to captain Western Australia to a Sheffield Shield title, Tom Moody, says Green needs to be given time to develop his craft.

"Cameron's got someone he can speak to about that, someone who's faced exactly those challenges, and that's Mitchell Marsh," Moody told Wide World of Sports.

"We all know how difficult it is to master the role as an all-rounder, because you need to figure out exactly where you sit in the side.

"Are you a top six batsman who is the fourth bowler in the attack? Or are you one of the top three quicks who adds depth and quality to a batting line-up?

"At the moment I would have thought Cameron is very much a bowling all-rounder, and he needs to continue to challenge himself to work on both those disciplines and it will be fascinating to see how his game evolves and where he eventually fits as an all-rounder."

Moody says Green's breakout performance at the Gabba was no surprise to those who'd watched him come through the Western Australian junior setup.

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"He certainly looks a very, very promising young player. We all knew over here in Perth that he was a capable batsman, and over the last few days in Brisbane he's shown the rest of the cricketing world that he's got the goods," Moody said.

a man wearing a baseball uniform throwing a ball: Cameron Green notched his maiden Sheffield Shield hundred against Queensland.© Getty Cameron Green notched his maiden Sheffield Shield hundred against Queensland.

"It's great to see him continuing to evolve as a player, and he's definitely one to look out for in the future.

"He's about six foot seven, he's someone who can bowl at a lively pace and also bat around that number seven position, and that's a very big asset to any team."

Stress fractures in his back have already sidelined Green during his career, and a recurrence of back pain seems set to prevent him bowling in Western Australia's next Shield game against New South Wales.

His previous back injuries left Green with plenty of time to work on his batting in the nets, but according to Moody, it wasn't just the number of runs that Green made in Brisbane that sets him apart, with WA's perilous situation just as important.

"You always look at the circumstances of how people take wickets and score runs, and clearly that's a pretty good indicator of the resilience and character of Cameron as a young player," he said.

"He'll remember that match, and so will his teammates, because he's dug them out of a massive hole and managed to save the game.

"Ultimately, those types of performances are what you look back on at the end of the season, because they're often the difference between playing in a Sheffield Shield final or missing out."

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