India A v Australia A - Four-Day
Doggett dares to dream of Test debut
Star quick has enjoyed a rapid rise and is now knocking on the door of a Baggy Green
11 August 2018, 10:00 AM AEST
While Brendan Doggett remains coy about his chances of a Test berth, the speedster admits it would be a source of immense pride to become the third Indigenous Australian to pull on the Baggy Green.
This week's confirmation that star quicks Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have both been ruled out of Australia's forthcoming series against Pakistan has thrown the doors wide open for the country's fringe fast bowlers.
Doggett, despite having all but forgotten his childhood dream of becoming a professional cricketer a few years ago, finds himself among right in the mix for a call-up.
Only three seasons ago, the right-armer was playing in the second XI of Premier Cricket club Western Suburbs and commuting from Toowoomba where he was working as an apprentice carpenter.
Virtually unsighted through junior representative ranks, Doggett had only made the move from club cricket in regional Queensland to play with his brother Sam.
"He wanted me to go play with him in Brisbane, so I'd drive down on Thursday night for club cricket in Brisbane," the 24-year-old told cricket.com.au.
"I played my first season in second grade, but to be honest I didn't think anything would happen. I was just doing it for the joy of the game, hanging out with my mates."
Possessing raw pace, Doggett has risen through up the ranks like few others in recent memory.
After just one full season of first grade with Wests, he was handed a rookie contract with Queensland for the 2016-17 season and has since formed a strong bond with bowling coach Andy Bichel.
The following summer Doggett collected 28 wickets in his maiden JLT Sheffield Shield campaign, capping it off with a five-wicket haul in the competition final in March as the Bulls claimed the four-day title for the first time in six years.
After returning from the landmark Aboriginal XI tour of the UK commemorating the 150th anniversary of Australia's first cricket team to travel abroad, national chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns told him he'd be going to India later this year for a pair of Australia A first-class games.
"I'm still pinching myself that I play cricket for a living," he reflects. "It was always a dream but when I was 22 and I was still a carpenter, I thought maybe not.
"In the past three years, things have just flown by. I got a contract unexpectedly, played in the Shield unexpectedly and now this. It's all happened pretty quickly."
Of the specialist quicks going on the four-day component of the India 'A' trip, Doggett is the only one without international experience, a factor that may count against him when selectors pick their squad for the Pakistan Test series.
But Australia have shown a willingness in recent times to look past the 'games played' column when it comes to picking Test teams.
The likes of Pat Cummins (who'd played just three first-class games before his Test debut), Nathan Lyon (five games), James Pattinson (nine), Ashton Agar (10) and David Warner (11 games) all were all thrown in the deep end and all kept their heads above water.
"I don't know if you ever know if you're ready to play Test cricket for Australia," said Doggett. "If the opportunity ever came I'd be over the moon and I'd give it my best.
"I'd just approach it the same way I've approached everything else so far. I'd be just keen to talk to new people and learn new skills.
"I think I've got a bit of a lighter outlook on things, I don’t get too down on myself if I bowl badly - I speak to the coaches, they will give me some feedback and move on.
"I definitely do look at things differently to the guys who have grown up in the cricket circle."
Doggett see himself as a little bit of an outsider in cricket ranks, but the paceman who's proudly descended from the Worimi people of northern NSW has established a strong bond with fellow leading Indigenous cricketers.
"The key focus of the Indigenous programs that Cricket Australia run is to try and get someone in a Baggy Green," he said.
"When we get together with the Australian indigenous side, we all talk about it.
"If I was to achieve that (a Test cap), I'd be immensely proud and I'd know I'd have the backing of all the Indigenous cricketers around Australia."