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He has been billed as Australia’s response to Andrew Flintoff, but Cameron Green is walking in the line of Australia’s best hitters.
Last year, the highly qualified 20-year-old made comparisons with the legend of England given his very high height, is two meters high, and his rare talent with the bat.
But a back injury prevents Green from bowling, while the WA youth is reaching dizzying heights with his growing list of batting achievements.
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After Western Australia fell to 3-43 in a green top against Tasmania, Green reached the fold in No.5 and showed maturity beyond his years to score 158 undefeated 283 balls.
Green now has three centuries of Sheffield Shield in his name this season, having won 121 undefeated against Queensland and 126 against South Australia.
That puts him in the company of Australian batting royalty who also scored three tons of Shield before he turned 21.
The group includes people like Sir Donald Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Steve Smith, Greg Chappell, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Phillip Hughes (scroll down to see the full list).
Some of Australia’s best test hitters, such as Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Michael Hussey and Justin Langer, did not achieve the same feat.
The first ton of first-class Green came as number 9, but since then it has raised the WA order to number 5. Its 564 runs to 70.50 this season require selection as a specialist hitter.
However, by trade, Green remains a multi-faceted fast bowler, a role that the Australian side of the test has increasingly rejected given the shortage of candidates.
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Green has received a tip as a long-term option to play the role even though a back stress fracture means he hasn’t played since before the Big Bash League season.
It’s a problem that has worried Green worryingly during his short first-class career that started when he was only 17 years old and took 5-25 against Tasmania, becoming the youngest player to take a Sheffield Shield for five in the debut.
“It’s a spell as good as the one I’ve seen of someone in his debut game,” said WA coach and now Australia, Justin Langer, at that time.
Green has played on average less than 60 overs per season in the following three years, but has still accumulated 28 wickets at a miserable average of 21.53, including two sets of five wickets.
Former Test star and high-performance Cricket Australia coach Ryan Harris said before the Shield season that Green reminds Flintoff of his talent with the bat and the ball despite his height.
When asked if he had seen someone as tall as Green stand out with the bat, Harris told cricket.com.au: “The only one that comes to mind is” Freddie “Flintoff.
“It’s still not as thick as Freddie. But as for the height, it’s very similar. Freddie was tall, hit the ball very hard. Cam has to fill up a bit, which he will do.
“He moves quite well, he has the athletics to do all that. At this stage of his career, (the young fast bowlers) are still growing in his body and are a bit ungainly. We just have to let him mature and develop in his body for two or three years. “
Weeks later, Ponting was among those who asked for Green to be added to the Australian test squad to face New Zealand, saying: “He is very young and raw, but what he is doing in the Cricket Shield suggests that there is a lot of talent there with Both bat and ball.
“It’s someone we have to watch over for years to come, and if we can speed it up and put it into the configuration as soon as possible, it wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
National coach Trevor Hohns said Green’s name was discussed, but he must return to bowling before he can be seriously considered.
But if he shows that his form with the bat this season is not an anomaly, then it is only a matter of time before he also requires consideration as a batting specialist.
SHEFFIELD SHIELD CENTURIES UNDER 21 YEARS OLD (via Fox Sports Lab)
RICKY PONTING – 11
DARREN LEHMANN – 6
DOUG WALTERS – 6
MICHAEL BEVAN – 6
SIR DONALD BRADMAN – 6
ARCHIE JACKSON – 5
MARTIN LOVE —5
NORM O’NEILL —5
PHILLIP HUGHES – 5
GREG CHAPPELL – 4
STEVE SMITH —4
BARRY SHEPHERD – 3
CAMERON GREEN – 3
CHRIS LYNN – 3
CLEM HILL – 3
DON TALLON – 3
JACK POTTER —3
MATT RENSHAW – 3
MATTHEW HAYDEN —3
MICHAEL CLARKE —3
PAUL SHEAHAN – 3
ROBBIE KERR – 3