Teenager on the rise
CRICKET: New national selector Mark Waugh's plea to see Australia's Test batting top order strengthened could be answered by a teenager who has shown similar talent and confidence to a young Michael Clarke.
Jake Doran is his name, and the wicketkeeper-batsman was offered a rookie New South Wales contract this week.
Ever since he was 12 - barely higher than a set of cricket stumps - Doran has terrorised opposition teams older than him.
Which means the move to sign him, by the reigning Shield champions, was not seen as risky one.
Last season, as a 16-year-old, Doran broke Doug Walters' record as the youngest player to represent the NSW Second XI.
He followed that up by signing a rookie contract with the Sydney Thunder, representing the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI against England, and playing in the under-19 World Cup.
"Even as a kid he was making big scores - he scored a hundred (188 v Parramatta) playing in his first year of grade cricket (fifth grade) when he was 12," Fairfield Liverpool's club president Richard Gerdes said.
"He was barely taller than the stumps."
And that early competitiveness Doran displayed came from playing cricket in the backyard of his Blacktown home against older brother Luke. Luke plays for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.
"I had a few wins against him, and there were a few fights too," Doran told APN with a laugh.
"But Luke was always a great role model for me growing up. Being the older brother, he was kind of like the guinea pig to learn off, in terms of what to do and what not to do."
Like fellow western Sydney product and Australian captain Clarke, Doran has spoken of his desire to represent Australia from a young age. "I want to push as far as I can, and as quick as I can," he said.
Doran enjoyed an outstanding 2013/14 season, scoring 99 not out against Bangladesh at the under-19 World Cup in February, after being picked to take on England as a mere 16-year-old for the Chairman's XI.
In November last year, national talent manager Greg Chappell said Doran reminded him of Mike Hussey in the way he keeps the scoreboard ticking over.
And also like Clarke at an early age, Doran is not scared of those lofty comparisons.
"I hope one day I can be compared to Huss," Doran said.
"He's actually coached me a fair bit at the Sydney Thunder - he certainly knows his stuff."