Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Street happy to let his numbers do the talking
The self proclaimed 'stats nerd' is making up for lost time as he sets about making a name for himself at Shield level
10 November 2019, 09:13 AM AEST
Bryce Street decided in his last year of high school that if his dream of playing cricket didn't work out, he would like to pursue a career in numbers.
A short time later a contract at Queensland Cricket was put in front of him, and Street realised he could perhaps have both.
"I'm a bit of a snuff for numbers," he tells cricket.com.au. "Statistics have a warm place in my heart."
Try these numbers on for size:
345: The record triple-hundred he carved out for Queensland's Second XI last month
4: The number of seasons he has been a Bulls rookie
115: His highest first-class score, achieved earlier this month in just his second Sheffield Shield match
Street is from the 'stats nerd' school of cricketers but his interest in digits and decimal points goes well beyond that normally associated with this unashamedly numbers-oriented sport.
The 21-year-old has deferred his enrolment in a Bachelor of Mathematics at the Queensland University of Technology to focus on cricket, finding his fix via routine checks of his batting average (currently sitting at a pleasingly exact 56.00), though he jokes he only looks at that particular stat when he is making runs.
The Gosford-born, Sunshine Coast-raised product made headlines around the country for that triple-century, while more importantly for Street, it propelled him into the Queensland side after years of being on the fringes.
That period in waiting was an important evolution for the left-hander, who was a teenage prodigy with Premier Cricket side Sandgate-Redcliffe but acknowledges he didn't quite grasp the gravity of the opportunity he had been given.
"The first couple of years (as a Queensland rookie) I wasn't mentally there," he says. "I was handed a contract straight out of school, so I never really had a taste for the real world, and I never really appreciated what I had.
"At the end of the second (rookie) year I had a pretty close scare where I was dropped from the Second XI side and I thought I was genuinely going to lose my contract, and that was going to be it.
"That kind of woke me up. I ended up getting another rookie contract and I made a decision right there to never put myself in that position again.
"I realised I was living a childhood dream – it's only a finite experience and you've got to make the most of it.
"So I started to apply myself. Instead of just going through the motions of being there, I started asking questions of people, trying to learn, trying to understand what it took to get where I wanted to be.
"Then I guess the killer instinct as a batsman finally showed up, where I just wanted to make big scores more often."
Street made a 167-ball 53 in his maiden first-class innings after arriving at the crease with the Bulls 4-132 and their star-studded top order back in the pavilion. The century that followed 10 days later – this time as an opener – was similarly sedate in its tempo. Patience, he believes, is a key virtue of his game, and one that came about by necessity as a junior.
"I was raised as an old-fashioned batsman and when I was younger I was really small, so I never had the ability to hit a big ball," he explains. "So I settled for being a little patient kid who would wait for bowlers to bowl poor balls.
"Those lessons I learned as a skinny little kid have transcended pretty well now that I'm an adult playing first-class cricket … from my perspective, you might get one bad ball every two or three overs in first-class cricket, so I guess the patience I taught myself, and the mental discipline, has done me a lot of favours now."
Since breaking through for those initial appearances, Street has immersed himself in the Bulls set-up, conscious of gleaning lessons from his more experienced teammates.
"Talking to people who've been there, guys like Renshaw, Burns, Marnus, Khawaja – our whole top order has Australian experience so that's priceless for me," he says. "They've been somewhere and done something I haven't, so I'm trying to be a bit of a sponge – whenever they start talking, I stop and start listening.
"The one thing I've learnt myself though is that even though I've started applying myself more, training ridiculously hard and taking it all very seriously, it is still a game.
"We play for sheer enjoyment, because we love it. You can't get too caught up in it being the be-all and end-all."
That was a lesson Street learned the hard way during a stint as a professional player with the Hague Cricket Club in the Netherlands in 2018. He was set to play in England until a change in visa policies and a timely email to Queensland coach Wade Seccombe put him in the right place at the right time.
"(Hague's) pro(fessional player) had just gotten injured, so Wade asked if I was interested and that was it," he says.
"That was a very challenging year for me. I got thrown into a world all on my own – no family or friends close by. I had to fend for myself and learn to do everything.
"All of a sudden I was doing all my training on my own – we had no coaching staff there really so you have to question everything you're doing: Why am I doing this? How am I going to get better?
"It was a constant self-assessment of what you were doing and what direction you wanted to go in as a player.
"And when I first went over there I spent too much time trying to prove to these people that I was a good player. No-one knew me from a bar of soap. I really struggled for the first seven or eight games – I averaged like 20 with the bat.
"It got to the point where I basically had a complete mental breakdown after a game, and one of the guys came up and just said to me, 'Look, we know you can play – you don't have to prove yourself, and we don't want you to feel like you're failing us. We just want you to have fun.'
"I'm only a year older now but I feel like I was a lot more naïve to what life was about then.
"Once they told me they just wanted me to enjoy my time there, that if I didn't average 50 it was OK – once that pressure of performance was off my shoulders, I actually started doing better.
"The last 10 or 12 games I averaged 60."
During the purple patch, Street also had the good fortune of meeting his girlfriend, Iris. She is out here now for the summer, and he is continuing his heavy run-scoring ways. Coincidence?
"Whether there's a correlation there or not," grins the mathematician, "I'm not entirely sure."