Teen prodigy aims for a Big Bash splash
The meteoric rise of Jack Edwards is set to continue after he was snapped up by the Sydney Sixers for BBL|08
10 October 2018, 10:31 PM AEST
When Jack Edwards made Australian cricket history this month by hitting a one-day domestic century for NSW, he was more excited that he'd finally given his parents something to cheer about than inking his name in the record books.
Edwards, described by teammates as a "pretty chilled out dude", admitted he's rarely scored runs with his parents in the stands, but the Sydney Sixers will be delighted he's put that behind him after signing the 18-year-old to join his brother Mickey at the club for BBL|08.
"I usually don't score runs when Mum and Dad are here, so it was nice to do something for once and not disappoint them after a long drive," Edwards joked about his parents' 23km trip through Sydney traffic from Manly to Drummoyne Oval, where he crashed 116 from 112 balls against Queensland.
The Edwards family will have just 18km to travel to Sixers home games at the SCG, starting with the Perth Scorchers on December 22, where Jack is a contender to open the batting.
"I love playing with my brother, we always aim to have good fun out there but also keep things relaxed. I’m just pumped for the summer ahead," said Edwards.
Keeping things relaxed is high on the agenda for Edwards. Laconic and laid-back, his relaxed demeanour hides a fiercely competitive drive and astute cricketing brain.
"He's a pretty chilled out dude," NSW and Sixers teammate Moises Henriques said of Edwards earlier this month after both struck one-day centuries in the match against the Bulls.
"I was pretty pumped for him, for such a young man to have that sort of composure is really exciting for us as a team.
"Early on I was struggling a bit but he kept finding the boundaries and took the pressure off, so it was just really nice to bat with someone who can take that aggression to the opposition."
The 18-year-old Edwards became the youngest centurion in the 50-season history of the one-day cup, eclipsing the previous mark set by 19-year-old Chris Davies for South Australia in 1998.
Edwards admitted he didn't know he had broken the record for the youngest domestic one-day centurion, and said it was "a pretty cool feeling".
"But I'm just looking to the next game and not getting too carried away with it," he said.
"Everyone's made me feel comfortable (in this team) and has a lot of confidence in me to go out there and play my natural game and play with freedom which is how I want to play.
"If I've got the trust of my teammates and my coaches, it makes it very easy to go out there and perform."
The Big Bash contract is the latest step in a rise through the ranks that has been gathering pace in 2018 for the imposing 195cm right-hander with the surfer curls.
He was a standout performer for Australia at this year's Under 19 World Cup, hitting a fluent 72 against the spin onslaught from Afghanistan in the tournament's semi-final, while he also took 4-65 and cracked 73 in the early rounds against eventual champions India.
Within weeks of his 18th birthday, he earnt his maiden NSW Blues contract and then he found out he was among just 10 cricketers to earn full-time scholarships with the National Performance Squad in Brisbane over the winter, which necessitated him to move out of home for the first time.
Then in June he found himself among five youngsters invited by new national coach Justin Langer to shadow the Australian team in Brisbane as they prepared for their ODI tour of the UK, including sitting in on Langer's initial address to the one-day squad.
Edwards worked extensively with former Test opener Chris Rogers during his NPS stint on how to use his superior reach to his advantage, while Ryan Harris, who coached the U19 team at the World Cup, is a big fan.
"You'd probably look at him in that Tom Moody mould," said Harris. "He's an absolute giant.
"I think his bowling has (gotten to the level) where he could be a genuine allrounder that could bat anywhere at the top to the middle order. Because he's so tall, if he gets his timing right, he'll have enough pace, he swings it.
"He's a pretty laid-back character. He's got a bit to learn but he's on the right track."
Current squad: Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Joe Denly (England), Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, John Hastings, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Henry Thornton.
In: Jack Edwards (rookie), John Hastings (Stars).
Out: Johan Botha (Hurricanes), Doug Bollinger (retired), Nic Maddinson (Stars).
Roster spots to fill: six
Internationals signed: one