STATE CALL-UP: Mildura East Cricket Club’s Jayden Hunt has been selected to represent Victoria Country at this month’s national championships. The 15-year-old gained selection after trialling for several months, and was one of the youngest players selected! Photo: PAUL MENSCH

By ADAM LUITJES

MILDURA East Cricket Club’s Jayden Hunt has taken another step in his promising career, by being selected in Victoria’s Under 17 Country squad for next week’s national championships in Brisbane.

The 15-year-old gained selection in the 13-man squad after trialling for a number of months.

One of the youngest players selected, the up-and-coming fast bowler was lost for words when he was notified about his selection.

“It was a pretty good feeling, and I didn’t know how to react,” Jayden said. “I was shocked and excited.”

Travelling to Melbourne regularly for training and games, Jayden said he enjoyed mastering his craft at the elite level.

“It was a lot of fun, and I have made some new mates,” he said. “I have learned some new skills, which has definitely helped.”

As part of the Victoria Country team, Jayden has been given the opportunity to play under former Australian Test opening batsman Matthew Elliott.

“He (Elliott) has asked me a lot of questions, which has helped my game sense,” he said. “He also gave me the opportunity to open the bowling in a trial game at Point Cook.”

Testing himself against the best underage cricketers in Australia, the Year 9 Red Cliffs Secondary College student is looking forward to his nationals campaign.

“I am feeling excited and nervous,” he said. “It’s going to be a big step from playing here in Mildura, and I reckon the batsmen are probably going to be more aggressive.”

Having witnessed first-hand Jayden’s rapid rise, Mildura East Cricket Club coach and First Division captain, Brad Thomas, believes the talented teen is capable of performing well on the national stage.

“In the First Division games Jayden played, he bowled superbly with good pace and hit the right spots,” Brad said. “If he bowls like he does in First Division, he’ll have success.”

Pencilling in Jayden as a definite starter in this year’s First Division line-up, Brad believes the young gun has all the right attributes. “He works really hard which is a good thing, and he doesn’t just rely on natural talent,” he said.

“If he can get stronger and build his pace further, he can go really far with his cricket.”

Jayden said his Victoria Country opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his parents and Mildura East Cricket Club.