By Nick Creely
Lynbrook Cricket Club pair Odil Perera and Raheel Bostan are undoubtedly talented, but crucially, have the thirst for hard work, dedication and passion for the game they have grown up loving.
The talented youngsters now get the opportunity to showcase their talents for Victoria Metro Under 15s in the National Championships, starting on 7 February in Brisbane, and will be representing the Lakers, the community and the DDCA as they look to pull on the Victorian colours with pride.
Bostan – a Lynbrook junior also playing Premier Cricket with Dandenong – told Star News Group of the tremendous pride he feels ahead of a big week of cricket.
“It’s reward more than anything to be completely honest, it’s a reflection of all the tough work that I have done over the past years that have led me to this point,” he said.
“I am extremely proud, and hope to do my parents, club and region proud as well.”
Describing himself as “versatile” cricketer, a bit of ‘nudger’ with the bat and a bowler that relishes the middle overs, Bostan has starred for the Lakers’ Under 15 side this season, and has also recently cracked into the seconds at Dandenong, where he has shown some tremendous signs that he will be a force into the future.
He is grateful for his home club and the support they’ve provided him, but pointed out to two key figures who have given him inspiration.
“Lynbrook has been a great help in this long journey – when I arrived here at 14, they did everything they could to make me prepared for the future, often given me helpful tips and not being afraid to challenge me,” he said.
“I really look up to Shane Warne and Brett Forsyth – who’s our Premier ones bat. Warney because of his ability to out think batsmen and Brett because of how he plays textbook shots so cleanly and elegantly.”
Bostan said his love for the game stems back to his childhood in Pakistan, and has fostered into something he now lives and breathes.
“Being a young Paki boy, I grew up in the streets of Pakistan where asking people if they loved cricket wouldn’t even be a question,” he said.
“I would play with my mates on the streets and after arriving at Australia, I joined my nearest club, and I did pretty good which kind of led me to pursue it as a career.”
Bostan had plenty of people to thank as he embarks on the next phase of his journey.
“I would like to thank the Dandenong Panthers for exposing me to a high grade really early on,” he said.
“For all my coaches too, especially Aldo Kornor and Bathiya Perera who have helped polish my cricket skills. I would also like to thank Star News Group for giving me this opportunity.”
Similar to Odil Perera, a gun Lynbrook junior who is getting some Premier Cricket experience with Casey-South Melbourne, he feels overwhelmed and extremely proud to be representing his state.
“The feeling is overwhelming and I feel extremely proud to represent my state,” he said.
“I’m really excited to e spend the next week in Brisbane/Sunshine Coast playing cricket with my teammates and sharing some memorable experiences with them.
“The matches are going to aid in my confidence with my cricket skills, allowing me to put forth my skills against the rest of Australia.
“I’m looking to play with a positive mindset and back my abilities to make some runs on the scoreboard and hopefully being able to contribute to another the win for Vic Metro.”
Describing himself as a batting all-rounder, Perera is an accumulator of runs who also bowls leg-spin.
“I am always looking to challenge myself and go test out the limits in the game of cricket,” he said of his playing style.
Perera’s cricketing pedigree is strong – coming from a cricket mad country – and said his family has been the catalyst for his passion for the game.
“Cricket has always been in our household as my father, Himal, used to play first class cricket in Sri Lanka and my sister, Thenushi, who plays cricket too,” he said.
“The passion grew in the backyard where my sister and I would play endless hours of cricket, batting, bowling and eventually hitting the ball to the next door neighbours house.”
Perera said he doesn’t look up to anyone specifically, and likes to learn from a range of different people.
“I don’t really look up to anyone specifically, every cricketer is different and I learn from everyone’s different aspects,” he said.
“If I had to choose one person, it would be Virat Kohli as one of his uniqueness is his aggression towards the game.”
Playing for the Lakers’ Under 17 side, Perera only recently joined the club, but loves the community aspect of his new home.
“I joined this club halfway through the season and the club has been inviting giving me the opportunity to be a part of the community,” he said.
“The people associated with this team are always striving to give us the best cricketing experience hence I am really thankful for that.”
As he too jets off for the experience of a lifetime, Perera had plenty of influences he would like to thank.
“I would like to thank all the coaches and clubs who have played a part in the cricketer I am today,” he said.
“I would also like to thank my family and friends, especially my father, who have supported me tirelessly throughout this whole journey so far and continue to do so.”
You can follow all of the action from the National Championships at nationalchamps.com.au