Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Test call-up latest step in Doggett's rapid rise
Only three seasons ago, Brendan Doggett was an apprentice carpenter playing in second XI Premier Cricket in Queensland. Now he's in line for a Baggy Green
11 September 2018, 05:00 PM AEST
Brendan Doggett's remarkable rise from outback Queensland club cricket to the top of Australian cricket has continued, with the speedster on the verge of becoming just the third Indigenous player to earn a Baggy Green.
A proud descendant of the Worimi people of northern NSW, the 24-year-old with only eight first-class games under his belt was the biggest bolter in the Test squad named on Tuesday for the forthcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Doggett will follow in the footsteps of Indigenous pioneers Jason Gillespie and Faith Thomas should he play in the UAE.
"The key focus of the Indigenous programs that Cricket Australia run is to try and get someone in a Baggy Green," he told cricket.com.au last month.
"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."
While his numbers from the ongoing Australia A tour of India are modest (four wickets at 49.75 and an economy rate of 4.52), national selectors are confident the raw speed that saw him propel Queensland to last summer's JLT Sheffield Shield title makes him a legitimate threat at Test level.
“Brendan is an exciting prospect, a fast bowler with raw pace and wicket-taking ability," said selection chief Trevor Hohns.
"He provides an additional option to Mitchell Starc if extra pace is called for, and this is an ideal opportunity to get him involved in a national set-up for the first time after his recent showings for Queensland and Australia A."
Doggett's is an unlikely tale, having all but forgotten his childhood dream of becoming a professional cricketer only a few years back.
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 said ahead of the recent Australia A series in India.
"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."
He has since 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.
Last 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, 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 said. "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."
While the selection of Doggett will surprise many given his relative inexperience at domestic level, he will be encouraged by the success similarly untested prospects have had in recent years.
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) 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."
A version of this story was originally published last month when Doggett was selected in the Australia A squad to tour India.
Australia's Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc