Mackenzie Harvey has looked good at the top of the order for the Renegades.
Mackenzie Harvey has looked good at the top of the order for the Renegades.

Pucovski rise gives BBL young gun food for thought

Mackenzie Harvey is unlike other batsmen.

"I don't have the proper technique that coaches give out," the 18-year-old Melbourne Renegades opener said.

"My way of batting is to just try and get off strike any way possible, and if there's a bad ball try and hit it.

"In my eyes it's not all about looking pretty. It's more just trying to get runs."

 

Scoring runs is something the left-hander does for fun.

The youngest player in the Big Bash League smashed 136 (130) playing for Australia's under-19 side against Pakistan's under-19s and that knock stands the tallest from 15 tons.

Mackenzie Harvey is also unlike other fielders.

"I do a little bit more fielding (training) than batting," Harvey said.

"So I try and get the majority of my fielding done before I do my major skill.

"If I can take 50-odd catches before I bat and then go and bat and then afterwards have a bit of a throw.

"I pride myself on my fielding so I make sure I get my workloads in and try to help the bowlers a bit."

Renegades bowlers should be queuing up to shout Harvey beers because his run-saving lunges have helped keep their figures tidy this season.

 

Mackenzie Harvey (centre) as an 11-year-old fan with Brad Hogg at the BBL.
Mackenzie Harvey (centre) as an 11-year-old fan with Brad Hogg at the BBL.

Here is a tip for Big Bash batsmen - when you hit it to Harvey, don't take him on.

James Pattinson learned that the hard way on Thursday, when Harvey's rocket throw meant keeper Sam Harper barely had to move a muscle to complete a textbook run-out.

"That was probably the best throw I've ever done," Harvey said.

"Once it came out of my hand I knew it would've been close to the stumps. Sometimes you feel the ball come out of your hand and think, 'That's going to be pretty close to a run out'."

A few months ago and the Gades attack would've been shouting Harvey soft drinks. The 2018 schoolboy only turned 18 in September in a time where Cricket Australia is searching for young talent.

Will Pucovski has been included in the Test squad at just 20. Does that allow Harvey's mind to wander?

"It's very exciting for Will - I'm absolutely rapt for him," Harvey said.

"It's really exciting to see the opportunities that are given to young guys like Will and myself.

"But I'm just trying to get through Big Bash and club cricket first."

 

Mackenzie Harvey has made a habit of getting his runs quickly.
Mackenzie Harvey has made a habit of getting his runs quickly.

Harvey has predominantly played one-dayers and T20s and the England ODI attack already knows him.

In a warm-up match last summer, Harvey the 17-year-old smashed a 39-ball half-century on his way to 59 (48).

Harvey hit his fourth ball over the rope. It was the first of three sixes against Test bowler Mark Wood.

"It's really hard to explain how I was feeling before the game, but once I got out there it felt really strange looking at a bowler that you've seen on TV," Harvey said.

"Most of the time when I go out to bat I'm not really focusing on who's in the field. But when you see guys like (captain) Eoin Morgan and Mark Wood hanging around you take a bit more notice.

"Once I got in I just realised that we're all playing the same game of cricket and we're all on the same field.

"It took me back to a club game in my mind and thinking he's just another bowler I have to face and make runs against."

Fancy that, a schoolboy tonking the Poms.

Will Pucovski has been named in Australia’s Test team against Sri Lanka.
Will Pucovski has been named in Australia’s Test team against Sri Lanka.

Harvey credited Elsternwick coach Cam Christiansen with his fielding standards and he feels at home at point or on the boundary.

"You can be a batsman or you can be a bowler, but the majority of time you're going to be a fielder," Harvey said.

As package, he has a ton of talent - and it runs in the family.

Harvey is the nephew of former Aussie all-rounder Ian Harvey, although he has had limited involvement in the batting prodigy's development.

"He's a good ball striker," Gades coach Andrew McDonald said.

"He hits the ball into different areas and possess power to clear the ropes."

Harvey is prolific off the back foot and it is the cut shot rival BBL captains have been keen to defend.

"That seems to be where they put all the fielders for me, so it could be a bit of a strength," Harvey said.

Mackenzie Harvey impressed against the touring Poms earlier this year.
Mackenzie Harvey impressed against the touring Poms earlier this year.

But he can score all around the wicket.

Harvey whizzed to 21 against the Stars in the New Year's Day derby and it took a sprinting catch from Glenn Maxwell to remove him.

Against the Heat, Harvey smashed a six off Brendan Doggett and again fell victim to a sharp catch the next ball as Pattinson held on to his attempted scoop.

A CricViz analysis backed up Harvey's mantra that he looks to score off every ball. In the powerplay Harvey plays an attacking shot 62 per cent of the time - ranked No.3 in the BBL.

Harvey is just behind Max Bryant (69.6 per cent) and Jake Weatherald (62.1) and in front of D'Arcy Short (61.8) and Jos Buttler (61).

Harvey is also a rusted-on Renegades fan, choosing the red team in BBL01 when he was just 11 years old.

"Everyone around me was going for Stars so I thought why not have a bit of competition and go for Renegades," Harvey said.

"To be finally signed by the Renegades was something really enjoyable."

Perth Scorcher Brad Hogg posed for a photo with a young Harvey at Marvel Stadium and the pair laughed at the image as Renegades teammates last summer.

Now it is Harvey in the camera frames.



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