Not many teenagers can say they’ve fielded with the Australian Test squad, but Darwin 15-year-old Adi Dave has the bumps and bruises to prove it.
Quick single: How the Aussies fared in Darwin
Dave had the best seat in the house for the intra-squad showdown between the Steve Smith XI and the David Warner XI this week, recruited by the Australian squad as a substitute fielder for the three-day match at Darwin’s Marrara Oval.
And if lining up alongside the best players in the country wasn’t intimidating enough for the teenager, he found himself placed in one of cricket’s most demanding fielding positions – under the helmet at short leg.
"I was pretty excited,” Dave told cricket.com.au when asked about his reaction to being thrown the helmet by Australian captain Smith.
"I was happy to go anywhere. I was thinking to myself the night before ‘what if I go under there?’, but I was happy to."
His time under the helmet didn’t result in any catches and he copped a nasty blow to the calf from a Travis Head sweep shot, but Dave insisted the experience was worth a bruise or two.
"Heady swept it into my calf, and it hurt a bit but I kept going. It wasn’t too bad, I just put some ice on it and I was good to go."
The young left-arm orthodox spinner is one of the Northern Territory’s most promising young prospects.
Last year, Dave represented the Northern Territory in Cricket Australia’s Under-17 National Championships, while he’s also been part of the territory’s Emerging Players and School Sport squads.
"It was awesome,” the teenager said of his time with the Test squad. "I learnt a lot and it was a great opportunity for someone as young as me.
"It was great getting out with the boys, it was what you dream of."
Dave‘s involvement added an extra local flavour to the match, which also featured Darwin products and South Australian-contracted players Jake Weatherald and Tom Andrews, who lined up for the Warner XI and Smith XI respectively.
Touring teams at times call on lucky locals to assist in the field during practice matches – on Australia’s 2014 tour of the United Arab Emirates, local bank teller and UAE ‘keeper Saqlain Haider stood in for Brad Haddin behind the stumps during a warm-up between Australia and Pakistan A in Sharjah.
Last summer, South Australian grade cricketer Harry Nielsen – the son of former Australia coach and SA gloveman Tim Nielsen – filled in for South Africa Test wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock during a tour game against a CA XI at Adelaide Oval.
Australia in Bangladesh 2017
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.
Bangladesh squad (preliminary): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.
11-17 August Australia pre-tour training camp, Darwin
18 August Australia arrive
22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah
27-31 August First Test, Dhaka
4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong