As kids we have dreams, and as teenagers we have goals. But for up-and-coming Victorian cricketer Mitchell Perry, 16, his are one and the same.
Perry wants to continue climbing the cricketing ranks, and if his rise to date is anything to go by, these dreams can well and truly become a reality.
Recently, Cricket Australia announced a 15-player squad to represent the Australia Under-19s in a six-match series against Sri Lanka Under-19s in April in Tasmania.
The series will involve one three-day match and five one-day matches, beginning on Saturday, April 8 and concluding on Sunday, April 23, all played at Hobart’s Kingston Twin Ovals.
Over the moon, Perry admits he would have happily focused on his Metro Under-17s commitments before thinking about representing Australian Under-19s, however the selectors had something else in mind.
“It’s been awesome actually, I never thought I was going to be playing Under-19s then obviously this (series against Sri Lanka),” said Perry.
“I was only hoping to play (Metro) Under-17s this year, and I wanted to put all my hard work and time into Under-17s, and then I got rewarded with Under-19s.”
Having recently represented the Ponting XII on the SCG in a curtain-raiser for a KFC Big Bash League match in December, Perry has already fulfilled one of his childhood dreams.
The match, played against the Gilchrist XII, was a showcase of Australia’s best young talent from both the Under-17 and Under-19 National Championships, as is the case with this squad.
Three fellow Victorians in Zak Evans, Jonathan Merlo and Will Sutherland have also been selected alongside Perry, and have all shown form in the pathway programs and face new challenges against an unknown opposition.
“I’m not sure what to expect actually,” said Perry.
“I think they’ll have some pretty good spinners though, I know that!
“It’ll be a pretty tough task. Us Victorian boys get along really well, and there’s a lot of banter between the interstate guys but we all get along well too.
“Once we come together, I think we’ll gel together really well and develop our games.”
With one eye on the present and one looking ahead to the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, the matches against Sri Lanka could provide big opportunities for the future.
After a stunning debut for the Monash Tigers First XI in Premier Cricket this season, taking a wicket with his first ball and eight scalps for the match, Perry has shown he’ll have a lot to offer in the years ahead.
“I’d love to have a really good tournament down in Hobart,” Perry said.
“If I do well there, hopefully it will create more exciting opportunities in the future, that’s my goal.”
The squad will also have plenty of experience to call on in the coaching department, with recently appointed Cricket Australia High Performance Coaches Matthew Elliott and Ryan Harris announced as coach and assistant coach respectively.
The first match of the series begins tomorrow (Saturday, April 8), and will be captained by Victorian Will Sutherland. All matches will be live-streamed and scored on cricket.com.au.
*To be eligible for this series, players selected had to be under the age of 19 as of 31 August 2016.