Ben Laughlin has the most wickets in BBL history.
Ben Laughlin has the most wickets in BBL history.

How a third grade offie became a BBL legend

BEN Laughlin, cricket's carpenter and conjurer, was unwittingly preparing himself to be a Twenty20 star even before the game was invented.

Three seasons in a row from age 19 were ruined by stress fractures but rather than give cricket away he returned in third grade at Wynnum-Manly as an off-spinner, never suspecting that cricket's humblest delivery would be his passport to success.

But a decade and a half later the 35-year-old stands as the most prolific wicket-taker in Big Bash history as he prepares for the Adelaide Strikers semi-final on Friday night against the Melbourne Renegades.

Laughlin's subtle, well grooved off-spinner is one of many variations in his deceptive, anything goes medium paced all-sorts that keep batsmen guessing.

"I started bowling off-spinners in third grade and had to work my way back after my back injuries and it turned out to be a lucky break, really,'' Laughlin said.

"That style of bowling suits white ball cricket even though I was not aware of it really because we did not really play that much white ball cricket. I played third grade as a batsman and it probably showed how much I just love cricket.

"I made some really close mates from those years and they are still the mates I have today.''

Son of former Test all-rounder Trevor, whose power game would have been ideally suited to the T20 game ("he tells that all the time''), Laughlin is one of the few modern cricketers who have tried to combined professional sport with a trade with occasional use of his carpentry skills.

"I do bits and pieces. Last winter I finished renovating my house which I have now sold. I will be probably find something else to tinker with in the winter. We moved to Noosa a couple of months ago, it's been the greatest move of all time so far.

"Working has really helped me with my cricket, probably more so early in my career when cricket was everything. It was nice to lie in bed and worry about building plans and bits and pieces rather than cricket.''

Ben Laughlin has been in great form for the Strikers this season.
Ben Laughlin has been in great form for the Strikers this season.


Laughlin lost his Queensland contract despite being a crafty swing merchant and outstanding fieldsman but he has forged a T20 career which has taken him to leagues in Sri Lanka, West Indies and India where he landed a $97,000 IPL deal on the weekend.

"Getting sacked a couple of times hurts so it is always nice to prove people wrong. That has been a driving force even though I am past that now," he said.

"I thought I had a pretty good one-day record for Queensland but I was told I was no longer required. Luckily I was older because at 27 you can handle those thing a bit better, but I would image it would be very confronting if it happened at 19 or 20.''

Laughlin became briefly famous around the globe with his spectacular performance in the "catch of the century'' last week when he threw back a ball on the run to Jake Weatherald.

"I was at Sydney airport and someone tapped me on the back and said "mate, awesome catch.'' It is good people are noticing it and can pick me out of a crowd.''

Paramedics called after car crashes into tree

Premium Content Paramedics called after car crashes into tree

Emergency services are at the scene of a car crash on the Northern Rivers.

‘Massive Monday’ as trans-Tasman bubble opens

Premium Content ‘Massive Monday’ as trans-Tasman bubble opens

New Zealand flights begin as trans-Tasman travel bubble opens

DON'T MISS IT: Activate your free bonus for big rewards

Premium Content DON'T MISS IT: Activate your free bonus for big rewards

How you could win a share in $500k