The batting gene runs in the Peake family, but the 17-year-old has drawn the most inspiration from Mike Hussey, reveals Dad
Peakey Blinder: Youngest Aussie goes from reserve to finals hero
Oliver Peake may be the youngest player in Australia's U19 World Cup-winning side, but has turned heads with his mature batting in crucial situations that contributed significantly to Australia's title.
As Peake shifted through the gears, hitting the last ball of the innings for four to lift Australia to 253 in last night's final, his father Clinton back home in Geelong allowed himself a wry smile as his 17-year-old progeny batted with an assuredness beyond his years.
"He hasn't surprised me, he works incredibly hard," a bleary-eyed Peake senior tells cricket.com.au having stayed up all night to watch Australia's 79-run win alongside youngest son Charlie.
"His progression has been coming through diligence and work ethic.
"Even being a replacement player, he couldn't have hit more balls in preparation without knowing what he was preparing for."
Peake was named a non-travelling reserve for the World Cup, but when WA's Corey Wasley broke a finger in the opening match he found himself scrambling to gather his kit and passport and get on the next flight to South Africa where he's been a fixture in the middle order.
The left-hander comfortably stepped into a middle-order finisher role, hitting 25no against England before clutch knocks in the semi-final (49 against Pakistan) and the decider (46no against India).
Given Clinton Peake's 305 against India in a 1995 Youth Test in Melbourne remains the record for the highest score in an U19 international, his assessment of Oliver's batting is measured and carries more weight than a doting dad's one-eyedness.
The former Geelong Cricket Club star played a handful of games for Victoria and has been credited by now-retired Australia white-ball skipper Aaron Finch as having an instrumental role in his development.
It is with that experienced eye that Clinton analyses his son's performance.
"One of his strengths really is his ability to manage what he sees to be a winning score," Peake senior says.
"This is coming through over and over again, is the truthful answer.
"His pacing of an innings is really good, and his total lack of ego in doing what he needs to do to achieve what he's trying to achieve, whether that's just dropping and running and getting someone else on strike or whether that's switch-hitting in the last couple of overs chasing a score.
"He really just moves between those gears as well as anyone at 17 years of age I reckon."
Oliver may have been blessed with the batting gene, but the way he crafts his approach to an innings has been developed by idolising Mike Hussey.
"He reads Mike Hussey's book over and over again, and very much takes a similar mindset into the game," Clinton says.
It bodes well for the future for Peake, who will still be eligible to represent Australia at the 2026 U19 men's World Cup in Zimbabwe.
First, he will eye a return to the Geelong CC this weekend where he "has been having a bit of a breakout year" to have cemented a spot in the first XI.
But a dose of reality awaits also – Clinton insists his son will return to his Year 12 studies at Geelong Grammar "the day after he gets back".
"He's going to have an almighty adjustment to go straight into his year 12 journey from here," his father says.
"He's sucked the marrow out of cricket tournaments over the summer break. But he'll need to go to school and get ready for assessment tasks and normal world stuff.
"They're already in week three, so every day matters."
Australia's Under 19 World Cup 2024 fixtures
Feb 2: No result v West Indies
Full tournament fixtures can be found here
Australia squad: Lachlan Aitken, Charlie Anderson, Harkirat Bajwa, Mahli Beardman, Tom Campbell, Harry Dixon, Ryan Hicks, Sam Konstas, Rafael MacMillan, Aidan O’Connor, Oliver Peake, Harjas Singh, Tom Straker, Callum Vidler, Hugh Weibgen