Rising star is ‘beyond his years’
The plan to fast-track Victoria’s next generation of talent paid dividends against a NSW team full of Test stars last week, and captain Peter Handscomb is more than happy to back them again.
Playing in just his third Sheffield Shield match, young fast bowler Mitch Perry rolled batting superstar Steve Smith and finished with match figures of 5-39.
Then in the second innings, as more seasoned heads around him folded, 18-year-old Jake Fraser-McGurk survived and then thrived against Test spinner Nathan Lyon at his best on a turning SCG pitch with an innings of 38 not out to get the Vics home.
The duo are among a raft of young talent in the Victorian line-up, including 21-year-old all-rounder Will Sutherland and 20-year-old fast bowler Zac Evans, who are being given their chance to shine.
Handscomb, who made his first class debut before most of those teammates had finished primary school, said the rising stars were showing an ability to improve quickly.
“Jake, that knock in the second innings was beyond his years. He was so calm and showed a different side of his batting we hadn’t see yet,” he said on Wednesday.
“We’d seen the shots and seen him been able to take on attacks, but he just hung in there which was awesome to see for such a young player.”
Victoria were wobbling when 18-year-old Jake Fraser-McGurk arrived at the wicket, but he showed composure beyond his years with an unbeaten 38 which included the winning runs #SheffieldShieldpic.twitter.com/GgIRo4FeqS
Handscomb said Perry “bowled the absolute house down” in an attack that included Test fast bowler James Pattinson against a star-studded NSW batting line-up.
“Mitch wasn’t overly happy with the way he bowled in his first two games,” Handscomb said.
“But he went away, he worked at it and first game back from Big Bash he bowled the house down.
“It’s pretty awesome, it’s great to see them learning and improving on the fly.”
The Vics were forced to stay in NSW for an extra 10 days when the state went into lockdown last week, costing them their first game at the MCG this season.
It meant extra time on the road amid a tight schedule that includes seven Shield games to finish the season.
“It wasn’t ideal,” Handscomb said.
“We would have loved to have come home, especially in such a weird year.
“If we had to stay for the entirety it would have been a different story.
“But for one more week, we can suck it up.”
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