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By Gaurav Joshi
Ben McDermott is a wicketkeeper batsman who played in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 for Australia. He comes from a cricketing family that includes his father, the current bowling coach of Australia, Craig McDermott and brother Alistair. He spoke to CricketCountry about various aspects related to cricket.
CricketCountry (CC): Everyone associates McDermott family with pace bowling, but you’re a wicketkeeper-batsmen. How did that eventuate?
Ben McDermott (BM): Since I started, I have always been a wicketkeeper-batsman. When I was a young kid, I tried everything and people thought I had natural hands [for wicketkeeping]. I also loved batting.
CC: Was there no pressure from your dad (Craig McDermott) or brother (Alaister McDermott) to become a bowler?
BM: Nothing like that, my parents have always supported me on what I wanted to do in my life. Not just bowling, but what if I wanted to play cricket (sic). They would have supported my rugby career or whatever I would have wanted to do, but I chose cricket and they supported me.
CC: Now, coming from a cricketing family, did you feel that you were always destined to be a cricketer?
BM: Yes, I suppose so, but I wasn’t born to be a cricketer. There has been a lot of hard-work that has gone in to development of my game. So, no, I don’t think that I was ever destined for it, but it has just worked out that way.
CC: What advise do you get from your dad or brother?
BM: These days, when I speak to dad, I ask him how he would go about [bowling to me] and get me out. I listen to what he has to say and go away, and work on my game from there.
CC: Do you see yourself as a fulltime wicketkeeper-batsmen going forward?
BM: Definitely, it just adds another string to the bow. I love wicketkeeping and I feel that is what gets me in the team.
CC: What is your favoured batting position?
BM: In the shorter format I see myself as a top-order batsman, but in Tests, batting at No 6 or down the order, I’m comfortable with.
CC: Queensland produced ‘keepers such as Ian Healy, Wade Seccombe and now, Chris Hartley? Have you worked with them?
BM: I have worked with all of them at various stages [of my career]. Recently, I have worked with Gavin Fitness, he was Queensland wicketkeeper behind Seccombe and then he went down to South Australia and played down there. I have done a lot of work with him during the last half of the season. He is our fielding coach this season and one that has helped me out the most.
CC: Have you spoken to your dad during the ICC 19 World Cup 2014?
BM:Yes, but it has been about general stuff, not about cricket. But once I get home, we will have a long chat and re-access where my game is going after that.
CC: How did feel to get a Big Bash League (BBL) contract?
BM: It all happened so quickly. I was a rookie at start of the BBL season and then got upgraded half way through due to a few injuries. I started playing well, so it was a pretty good experience for me.
CC: BBL souvenir from Shaun Tait? (McDermott was hit on the helmet by a fast bouncer from Shaun Tait. The ball left a big dent in the helmet)
BM: [laughs]: I didn’t want to be a souvenir, but he was bowling really quick that day and certainly bowled well to me.
CC: What about playing in the Under 19 World Cup? Maybe you can take something out of then tournament?
BM: This tournament has been a massive learning curve for all of us. As a team we have come so far after the first game in Sri Lanka we were towelled up, we know where we wanted to be as a group and I think we have done that reasonably well.
CC: What does Ben McDermott, the cricketer want to achieve in the next 12 months?
BM: I really want to dominate grade cricket next season at home by scoring a lot of runs. I want to try and force myself into the shield side for Queensland.
(Gaurav Joshi is an Indian-born Australian who played with Michael Clarke in his junior days. He coaches and reports for a Sydney radio station. Over the years he has freelanced for Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and is a regular on ABC cricket show Cow Corner. He is the author of the book “Teen Thunder Down Under” – The inside story of India’s 2012 U19 World Cup Triumph)
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