South Africa Tour of Australia
Queensland trio making their mark
Three youngsters from the sunshine state are learning their craft on and off the field
22 October 2016, 08:56 AM AEST
It's been a whirlwind month for emerging Queensland cricketers James Bazley, Xavier Bartlett and Brendan Doggett, firstly playing for the CA XI in the Matador BBQs Cup, and now facing a star-studded South Africa line-up this weekend.
But playing together, training together, living together… and occasionally watching 10 Things I Hate About You together has developed a tight-knit bond between the talented Bulls trio.
For 17-year-old fast bowler Bartlett, who took the first Proteas wicket to fall on Saturday - that of Test centurion Stephen Cook - it's been a life-changing experience.
"I would have been at school (if I wasn't with the CA XI), grade 12 at The Southport School on the Gold Coast," he said.
"It was a massive learning curve. Coming into it two games in and just being around the group has been awesome. I learned a lot, I'll take that back to club cricket and under-19 cricket."
"For me, playing against people that I've seen on TV and that I idolise, that's probably been the biggest thing."
Bartlett made his mark against NSW Blues on debut, picking up the prize wickets of Nic Maddinson and former Test batsman Ed Cowan.
But it wasn't the only highlight for the Gold Coast product.
"X was playing against NSW, his first game, his debut in the Matador Cup," Doggett said.
"At night time after the game, I said ‘X, what was the best thing?' and he said, ‘getting the paint can off Pat Cummins to mark my run-up, and then realising that we had the same run-up measurement'."
"Yeah, one of the highlights," Bartlett laughed.
The Queensland boys have bounced off each other for the past month while on the road with the Matador Cup and now the CA XI tour match, almost like a family.
"I've pretty much had to be (Xavier's) father and his mother … washing, cooking, cleaning, waking him up, telling him to go to bed," Doggett joked.
"And what time we're leaving in the morning," Bartlett chipped in.
"We're pretty tight knit now I reckon, us Queenslanders. We've definitely grown closer. We all watch 10 Things I Hate About You, it's probably a state favourite I reckon," Doggett added.
Growing off the field has been one thing, and on the field another.
Facing South Africa is another big step up, but it's one these three will be taking in their stride.
"It'll definitely be a step up, (but) I'm definitely more confident after playing here," Doggett said ahead of the clash.
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The 22-year-old Toowoomba product, like Bartlett, was an injury replacement player during the Matador BBQs Cup, but quickly impressed.
"I came in here only knowing Baz (James Bazley) and Leesy (Tasmania bowler Ryan Lees)… but I felt like I was definitely part of a team and we were all teammates wanting the best out of each other. I think everyone really moulded well together.
"For me it's just been taking wickets at the highest level I've played. Just realising you're good enough, I suppose.
"I'm trying to do that (bowl fast) but I'm also trying to bowl to plans and where my captain wants me to bowl, but trying to bowl fast is my number one."
Having played in the CA XI last year, Bazley entered this year's tournament as one the side's more experienced players - at 21 - and the determined allrounder has got his goals set for this year.
"I'd love to play Shield cricket, eventually. Play for Queensland, definitely," Bazley said.
"(The focus is) consistency and just playing well in Futures League and biding my time a little bit.
"It's hard, you never know when your opportunity's going to come really, but you've just got to control l what you can control, put the numbers on the board and it will happen eventually. That's the big goal."
It's a similar story for Doggett and Bartlett, with the former hoping to perform at Futures League level and push for Shield opportunities too this season, and the latter hoping he can impress for Queensland's under-19s and work his way into the Futures League side.
"It's probably best not to think about it and just play cricket, enjoy it… not be worrying about something in future," Doggett said.
There's no shortage of support within the trio, and they will be hoping they can make the most of this weekend's opportunity against South Africa.