At 25, Sam Raphael was a somewhat late-bloomer in Australian domestic cricket. The right-handed opener joined the South Australian first XI in late 2012, and hasn’t looked back since.
After biding his time in the under-23 side, Raphael finally broke into the squad after scoring 51 and 114 against Tasmania.
Raphael made his debut against the Tasmania Tigers in November at the Bellerive Oval. On a deck every bit as green as he was probably feeling, Raphael handled the conditions well, finishing with 22 (the equal top score). He fell for 15 in the second innings, which incidentally was South Australia’s winning margin.
The opener followed that up with a pair of twelves against the Warriors, before reaching 38 against the Bushrangers at the MCG.
In his next match, also against the Bushrangers, Raphael produced a moment of courage to inspire his side to their first home win in three years.
Despite being struck in the head by a violent James Pattinson bouncer, the rookie valiantly returned to the crease where he hit the winning runs in the drought breaking one wicket win.
Raphael looked at ease against the NSW Blues in both innings, before falling for a frustrating 26 and 34 respectively.
In fact, it wasn’t until his sixth match that Raphael failed to reach double figures. While he has made a number of promising starts, Raphael will be disappointed that he hasn’t reached any meaningful milestones yet.
He has scored 246 runs at 20.5, with his highest score a modest 38. With valuable experience under the belt, the 26 year old will be hoping for bigger and better things in 2013/14, including opportunities in the Ryobi Cup and Strikers’ squads.