Greenskeeper to Record-Breaker
In the space of just six months, Victorian Travis Dean has gone from an apprentice greenskeeper at his local golf club to breaking first-class cricket records for his state.
In May, Dean was almost halfway through his final year as an apprentice at Werribee Park Golf Club in Melbourne’s western suburbs before Cricket Victoria offered him his first professional cricket contract.
Weight of numbers had told for Dean, who was the fourth-highest run scorer in Premier Cricket and who had also posted a couple of classy centuries in the Futures League, which grabbed the eye of Victoria coach David Saker.
Six months since he was offered a deal with the Vics, and following on from a record-breaking debut performance in the Sheffield Shield this week, Dean may have to think about resetting his life goals.
The 23-year-old featured for the entire match against Queensland at the MCG, making an unbeaten 154 in the first innings and then hitting the winning runs in the second as he helped himself to 109 not out.
He became just the seventh man in history and the second Australian to score hundreds in each innings of his first-class debut, and the first to do so in his first Shield game.
His second innings ton was scored in front of his parents and grandparents and, based on this performance, his family will have plenty more cricket to watch in the years to come.
“I live in Werribee with Mum and Dad and my two older brothers who play at Werribee Cricket Club,” Dean said after the game.
“They are building houses at the moment so are still at home and we have a full house at the moment.
“I am pretty sure my mum and dad (were here today) and my grandparents drove down from (New South Wales town) Deniliquin, so it was good Nanna and Pa got down to come and support me.”
Dean edged out Australia’s Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch for a spot in Victoria’s Shield side and has no plans to relinquish his place any time soon.
His main goal throughout the clash against Queensland was simply to make sure he did enough to hold his spot, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone now that would want to send him back to Premier Cricket side Footscray-Edgewater.
“When you are playing club cricket you don’t get too many chances to bat for endless periods,” Dean said.
“So once you get in, the wickets are pretty flat and you have got to make the most of it as it is hard to get out from there.
“Once you get to 50 or 60, you can only get yourself out.
“Dig in, keep batting and set little targets.”
Victorian coach Saker was ecstatic for Dean and also happy that Finch managed to make an unbeaten 288 for the Cricket Australia XI against New Zealand earlier in the week.
“It was a big call to leave Aaron out, but we really felt we needed a younger player at the top with maybe a 10 or 15 year career,” Saker said.
“He made some good Futures runs last year and some good club runs and I watched the way he trained and thought he was a top-order batter.
“If we could have scripted a debut game, you couldn’t have scripted it like that.
“It probably hasn’t sunk in for him and it hasn’t sunk in for us, but it is just an amazing effort.”
Saker said Dean had the right temperament to play cricket at a higher level, but was more impressed with some of the other traits the opener possessed.
“He is that sort of guy that just gets the job done, he is really professional and nothing really seems to faze him,” Saker said.
“Someone described him to me as if you turned up you wouldn’t know if he is on 100 or nought and that is always a good sign of a batsmen that is in control of his game.”