As if undertaking a full professional offseason while completing his final year of schooling is not hard enough, young left handed batter Jake Doran has declared his intentions to press for 1st XI honours in his rookie year with the NSW Blues.
Doran has just returned from a stint with the National Performance Squad, where the side ventured to Bangalore, India to play two four-day matches against a local cricket academy. The trip was an opportunity for some of the brightest young cricketing talent in Australia to further their skills amongst the challenges of the subcontinent.
Earlier this month, Cricket Australia’s National Talent Manager Greg Chappell spoke of the need to expose Australia’s younger generation of cricketers to the conditions they are likely to face in the subcontinent with the goal of improving our record in the region. Since 2006, Australia have played 13 Tests in the subcontinent and won only one, in 2011 against Sri Lanka.
"The best way to learn is to play in different conditions,” Chappell told cricket.com.au while in Bangalore as a part of the NPS tour.
“As we saw with the Australian Test squad, a team that was on the verge of being very successful came here (to India) and got beaten 4-0".
This was a sentiment reiterated by Doran, who believes the challenges faced and lessons learnt will put him in good stead for return visits in years to come.
“It is definitely a different game over in India. You need to adjust, and think about some different scoring shots that you wouldn’t normally play in Australia, and over in India, you play them completely differently,” said Doran.
“Preparing yourself for (touring) India is pretty hard to do in Australia at the moment, we don’t have the same sort of decks and conditions, but we do have excellent facilities around us where we can prepare.
“It’s about getting over there, and getting as much time as you can on their decks, and spending as much time facing their sort of bowlers as well because they have different actions and different fields to us, so it’s about getting used to it as much as possible.”
After sitting out the first tour match in which the NPS cruised to a comfortable victory inside three days, Doran batted at number four in the second match against a more senior Bangalore Academy side. The side suffered defeat, with Bangalore chasing down over 350 in their second innings to secure victory, but Doran was moderately pleased with his own performance within the team’s efforts.
In the first innings, he scored a solid 60 before falling cheaply in the second dig. The lessons learned from his time in the middle, however, were more beneficial than any return with the bat.
“Keep using my feet, keep being confident,” he said of the key lesson learnt from the master class the young left-hander gained against the local spin brigade.
“I think when you start to let them get on top of you, as Greg Chappell told us, keep attacking the spin, keep going after it.
“I know that in my game, if I keep attacking them, I am always going to be continuously going, playing my shots and confident in what I do. When I start to hang back, play defensive, that is when the bowlers can get the upper hand.”
The experience in India will place him in good stead for what is his first full campaign with the Blues after debuting aged just 17 for the NSW 2nd XI last season. From here, he’ll hope to take part in the upcoming state camp and get some time in the middle and in the nets ahead of the start of the season.
Not content just to make up the numbers, Doran has spoken of his aspirations for the year, with the goal of ensuring the selectors can’t ignore his form.
“I want to try and push myself into the first team as much as possible. I want to try and get a few 2nd XI games in as well, get a few runs there and put my name up for selection. I’m sure that is everyone’s case here, but I want to try and be there and be in the competition at the highest level I can.”