Green said he copped “a bit of sh*t” from teammates after being compared to Flintoff. (AAP: Gary Day)
If you were building a prototype for the perfect cricketer, it would be hard to go past emerging Australian all-rounder Cameron Green.
He can bat in the top six, bowl at more than 140 kilometres per hour and has had to quickly become used to being sledged by his opponents, after former Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris recently said he was Australia’s answer to former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
“Anything that gets published, you have got to cop a bit of shit once you get onto the field,” Green joked.
“I copped a bit from the [South Australian] boys just as I went out to bat.
“I think you just have to get used to that. It is all pretty funny out there.”
Cameron Green has been described as Australia’s answer to English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. (AAP: David Mariuz)
It was high praise for the 20-year-old, but if anybody understands what the 2-metre-tall Green is capable of it is Harris, who has worked with the all-rounder as Australia’s high-performance coach.
“I spent quite a lot of time with Ryan up in Brisbane,” Green said.
“It is incredibly nice the things he said about that, but I think I have made a couple of scores, so I am not looking too far ahead.”
The West Australian has quickly gained attention after some outstanding performances with both the bat and ball, and when a young all-rounder shows talent in Australia, talk of higher honours quickly follows.
The hunt for Australia’s own Andrew Flintoff
Ever since Flintoff decimated the Australians in the 2005 Ashes series, the nation has been on the lookout for an all-rounder who can bowl with pace and also bat in the top six.
Shane Watson, Mitch Marsh and Moises Henriques have all been tried with varying degrees of success, but none have had anywhere near the type of impact Flintoff had at his best.
England’s Andrew Flintoff was considered one of cricket’s leading all-rounders. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Although in the very early stages of his career, Green is now preparing to face the same expectations, and he recognises the sometimes crippling scrutiny those before him have faced.
“I think especially being surrounded by Mitch [Marsh] and Stoin [Marcus Stoinis], for example, you do see that kind of pressure they get put under. We get to see that first hand with Mitch especially,” he said.
“But at the same time, I think it is almost a blessing in disguise that you have got both skills to work on.
“If you don’t make it in one game as a batsman you can kind of catch up as a bowler.”
‘He is going to be such a valuable player’
Although back soreness has temporarily stopped him bowling, Green’s batting in pressure situations has become crucial for Western Australia.
In four Sheffield Shield matches this season he has scored 394 runs at an average of 65.66, including a match-saving, unbeaten 121 against Queensland at the Gabba.
In the most recent Shield match against South Australia he hit a career-best 126 in the first innings.
He also has a bowling average of 21.53 from 10 first-class games.
“It is so exciting,” stand-in WA captain Ashton Turner said when asked about Green’s potential.
“It’s so rare you find guys who you can pick as a batter or as a bowler, they’re like gold to have in your team.
“We know that in the future he is going to be such a valuable player for Western Australia and probably Australia as well.
“To have a kid like that who can be in our side, in a successful side at the moment, and [who] can learn from lots of guys who’ve had so much experience around the world, it’s gold for him [as well].”
Green should be in Australian squad: Ponting
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has also taken notice and had called for Green to be picked in the Australian squad for the coming Test series against New Zealand.
“Green is probably the in-form batsman in the country,” Ponting told cricket.com.au prior to the squad being announced.
Ricky Ponting wanted Green included in the Australian squad for the New Zealand Test series. (Reuters: Craig Brough)
“It’d be a pretty left-field decision to make because he’s been batting so low for WA. But he’s not doing much wrong, he’s an exciting talent, and maybe to just include him and have him around the squad and give him a taste of what it’s like might not be a bad thing.
“He’s very young and very raw, but what he’s doing in Shield cricket suggests there’s a whole lot of talent there with both bat and ball.
“He’s someone we’ve got to keep an eye on for the next couple of years, and if we can fast-track him and get him into the set-up sooner rather than later, it wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
Football’s loss is cricket’s gain
If not for the quick moving talent identification team at the West Australian Cricket Association (WACA), Green could have been playing Australian football instead.
A talented key forward, he was playing under-16’s football for Western Australia when he was approached by the WACA.
“I never really chose one sport growing up. Every half year I was pretty keen to play the next sport, I got pretty bored of the other sport,” Green laughed.
“Luckily cricket offered me a contract first and that made the decision for me.”
Having just received positive scans on his sore back, Green is confident he will be back bowling by the start of the Big Bash League this weekend.