By David Nagel
Berwick Primary School student Joshua Narayan is hoping inspiration and technique drawn from two international captains will kick-start a long and successful career in the world of cricket.
The 12-year-old wicketkeeper batsman has had two months to remember, first earning selection in the Victorian Primary School team for the Australian School Sports Championships to be held at Barooga in early January.
And the talented left-hander capped things off by leading the Berwick Primary School to victory in last week’s state championship final held at the home of cricket – the mighty MCG.
And it’s two left handers, who both made their mark on the ‘G’, that have encouraged him to take his cricket further.
“I met Kumar Sangakkara a couple of years ago, he was a champion wicketkeeper and top-order batsman for Sri Lanka, and left-handed like me, and he inspired me to start keeping and batting at number three,” Joshua said.
“And (former Australian captain) Graham Yallop is another hero of mine, he’s my coach and a great guy and his knowledge of cricket is just incredible. When I first went to him my grip wasn’t right, but he fixed it and everything has changed since then. I’m slowly mastering the things he taught me and now I just need some power.”
Josh’s path to selection in the state team was a long one, first being nominated by his school before negotiating tryouts and a group cut from 60 to 20 – before the final squad of 13 was selected.
Josh says that apart from his batting and keeping skills, there’s a third element to his game that will hold him in good stead in elite company.
“My attitude is good I think, I’m always talking in the field and I always want to be out there when I’m batting,” he said.
“And I stay pretty calm when I go out. I get disappointed but I don’t throw my bat when I go out, I just think about what I should have done to stay out there.”
Josh puts his great attitude down to his number one supporter – his dad Jim.
“When it comes to thank yous, my Dad is clearly number one,” he said.
“He’s the one who tries to make me better every day. He looked for a good coach and we found one with Graham and he’s just passionate about my cricket and helping me with my attitude and everything to do with cricket. And my Mum and brother and sister have also been really supportive.”