Ben McDermott picks up bat despite tradition

Son of revered Australian bowler Craig, Ben McDermott is quickly making a name for himself as a batter.
Son of revered Australian bowler Craig, Ben McDermott is quickly making a name for himself as a batter.

AT just 18, it is a question Ben McDermott has been asked many times: "How did you become a wicketkeeper-batsman?"

It is a valid one considering his dad Craig, one of Australia's most respected bowlers, took 291 Test wickets.

And his brother Alister has enormous potential - at 22, he has taken 56 Sheffield Shield wickets from 14 games for the Queensland Bulls

But it is safe to say young Ben made a good call while growing up - he was recently added to the Bulls squad as a rookie contracted player for the coming season.

The highly-rated fourth-year Wynnum-Manly first grader is currently in Darwin at an under-19 international quad series starting, featuring his Australian team, India, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

And he impressed on Tuesday, scoring a half-century against India in his team's 47-run loss.

"I get asked that question (why he is not a fast bowler) a lot," McDermott said.

"But growing up, I just wanted to be different and do my own thing.

"I put the 'keeping gloves on early, found it easier than I thought, and I really enjoyed it."

McDermott is known as a hard-hitting batsman, and impressed before the last Shield final, when he stood up to his brother in a competitive net session.

"Ali was trying to prove his fitness because he wanted to play, and I enjoyed the hit-out," he said.

"We have a lot of friendly banter between us, but it's been outstanding having him and Dad around.

"Ali's a really good bowler, and Dad's good from a tactical perspective - he lets me know where bowlers can get me out.

"That (the McDermott last name) is always in the back of my mind, but I just try to focus on my own game."

And that game has been heavily influenced by legends such as Adam Gilchrist and Ian Healy.

"I used to buy all the Puma gear because of Gilchrist, and I just liked how he went out and had fun," McDermott said.

"Ian Healy has been one of my biggest mentors - I went to the Churchie school with his son Tom, who is a great young player.

"I have regular sessions with Ian and he's great to talk to - he was one of the best 'keepers of all time."

McDermott said he is trying not to look too far ahead in his desire to play in next year's U19 World Cup, but added he is hoping to press for a Bulls cap soon.

Topics:  craig mcdermott cricket queensland bulls

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