Padding up against some familiar faces

CRICKET

Picture

Sam Rahaley, 15, and Kyle Brazell, 17, will represent Cricket Australia in the under-19 national championships. PICTURE: AAP/MIKE BURTON

THEY have combined to tear opposition bowling attacks apart for years and now two of South Australia’s most promising teenage cricketers are preparing to gang up on their own state.

Rostrevor College schoolmates Kyle Brazell and Sam Rahaley will put their Redbacks colours to one side next month when they represent Cricket Australia in the under-19 male national championships in Adelaide.

“I guess it’s a bit strange but I don’t mind it,’’ said Brazell,

17.

“The bonus is that I’ll know the players and bowlers that I’ll be coming up against, so it makes it a bit easier to prepare.’’

Rahaley, 15, became the youngest player to represent Kensington at first-grade level when he debuted in January at 15 years and six days, said it would be “pretty cool’’ to go head-to-head with state and club mates.

“It will obviously be another step up in skill level playing at under-19 level but it will be pretty cool to play against some guys I know well,’’ he said.

Brazell, who this season moved from Tea Tree Gully to Adelaide University, primarily to bat further up the order, has already represented Cricket Australia twice at national championships.

He made the Australian under-16 team last year, taking out the player of the championships award at last season’s under-17 titles, and the Australian under-17 team that competed in last year’s national under-19 titles in Tasmania.

Rahaley made the under-16 team alongside Brazell before being chosen in this year’s under-17 squad. Both had strong under-17 national carnivals in Queensland last month.

Brazell made 324 runs at an average of 54 while captaining SA, with a top score of 106 against Rahaley’s Cricket Australia side, as well as taking nine wickets with his left-arm orthodox spinners. Rahaley impressed with 249 runs at an average of 35.57.

The pair are joined at the cricket hip, having been longtime teammates at Rostrevor.

“We’ve been playing cricket together pretty much since Year 6/7,’’ Brazell said.

“We got on really well and have a good understanding when we bat together.’’

In Rostrevor’s tour to Sri Lanka in June, Brazell was named player of the tournament, while Rahaley was top run scorer.

“It’s been a real bonus that we’ve been able to support and help each other so much through our cricket journey,’’ said Rahaley.

Left-hander Brazell once preferred football to cricket.

But he shifted his focus to hitting balls rather than kicking them after making the Australian under-16 team.

Brazell models his game on Test batsman Usman Khawaja because of his “calm and relaxed nature at the crease’’.

Right-hander Rahaley, at 191cm, was born in Singapore to Australian parents before moving to Vietnam and later England, where he started playing cricket and soccer.

He stuck with cricket when his family returned to Australia five years ago.

It will obviously be another step up in skill level ... but it will be pretty cool to play against some guys I know well.

Sam Rahaley