Hooper helps Higgins prepare for World Cup
Australian batter Isaac Higgins has been working closely with former West Indies captain Carl Hooper as he warms up for the Under-19 World Cup
7 January 2022, 02:41 PM AEST
(Main photo credit: Brody Gogan // CA)
Isaac Higgins has a secret weapon in his corner that has him poised to be a crucial part of Australia's tilt at a 2022 Under-19 World Cup title in the Caribbean.
A classy top order batter from Glenelg, Higgins has been working with former West Indies captain Carl Hooper, who has long since taken up residence in Adelaide after his playing days were done.
The tournament, which begins on January 14, will be played on Caribbean surfaces that will likely bode well for spin bowlers and make for tough batting conditions.
Wary of this, Higgins found the near perfect ally in his home state in Hooper, who coaches Southern District's senior men's team in South Australian Premier Cricket.
With 13 centuries and more than 5700 runs, plus 114 wickets, to his name, Hooper has a wealth of knowledge about playing in the Caribbean, with his expertise in the batting, particularly against spin bowling, characterising his 102 Test career.
The 19-year-old Higgins said he was fortunate to have access to such an apt resource for the upcoming tournament and hopes to be a conduit of Hooper's knowledge to his Australia teammates to give them an edge.
"Since I've found out (about his selection in the squad), I've been doing a bit of work with Carl Hooper who is from Guyana, and the nets is where we spend a lot of time," Higgins told cricket.com.au.
"He's been giving me heaps of information about how it's playing, obviously it's very spin friendly over there.
"He has taught me how to go about that and how to combat that, and that's something I can definitely give my teammates and coaching staff.
"Having someone like Carl give me this information, it's definitely going to help our team when we get over there."
Just a couple of weeks out from the tournament, the quietly spoken opener from Glenelg Cricket Club is in the form of his short career, striking two Premier Cricket centuries and averaging close to 45 this summer.
"I'm feeling pretty confident, it's kind of been a monkey off the back getting those first-grade hundreds, it was something I really wanted to achieve this year," Higgins said.
"It was playing on my mind more than anything ... to get that holds me in really good confidence going into the championships."
Higgins has also been opening in T20 matches with Glenelg this year, and now hopes his role will be much the same in the Windies for the 50-over tournament.
"I think that's something that will be discussed, but if I get the opportunity, I'd love to open the batting," he said.
"I think that's what suits my role and my game the best; trying to bat the whole innings and giving myself a good chance.
"I'm not someone who can just come out from ball one and start striking it like some other players, I need a little bit of that extra time to get in and try and be the man that people can bat around … so that will be my role I think."
Higgins starred for the Cricket Australia Under-17 XI with 337 runs at the 2019 Under-19 National Championships, including a stunning 112 against the Northern Territory.
What about these stats?! 333 runs @ 111, including two centuries (and a 98) in four matches. Enjoy some of @SACAnews opener Isaac Higgins' best work at #U17Champs. pic.twitter.com/9cp2VhBNx3— Cricket Aus Pathway (@CAPathway) October 7, 2019
One of five players from that side to be named in the 2022 U19 World Cup squad, Higgins said his time in that environment would hold him in good stead.
"Having Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris as your two coaches was pretty unbelievable and to have them helping you out with your game, you take everything in," he said.
"We were also coming up against a few blokes that are a bit older than us, and we all performed really well, and it shows just what you have to do to be good at that level.
"I'm not too nervous or daunted by being the only South Australian in the squad, I'm just looking forward to getting to know everyone else more.
"It's not as daunting as maybe I thought it would be because everyone I've met a couple of times and everyone is really nice and just good blokes.
"Everyone that I don't know as well, I'll be able to get to know them a lot better and I'll fit in with them all pretty easily I think."