Reading the game
MARIST Brothers cricketer Sam Reading has already proved he can do it all in the game at just 17.
The wicketkeeper-batsman enjoyed a huge January, representing NSW at under-19 level in the National Championships at Adelaide before taking the field for the North Coast under-21s on the weekend in the State Country Carnival at Wollongong.
At Adelaide he scored 57 against hosts South Australia and 54 against Victoria before hitting the winning runs (20 not out from just nine balls in a Twenty20 match) against Western Australia.
Reading posted 132 runs at an average of 33 against the best young bowlers in the country as his team came fourth out of the eight states and territories.
Those high up in Far North Coast Cricket circles saw so much talent in the kid that at the age of just 14 he made his debut for Murwillumbah in the LJ Hooker League.
When Murwillumbah failed to field a top-level side for this summer, Reading switched to the Brothers.
On January 7 he broke through for his first Hooker League half-century, scoring 62 against Cudgen.
Teammate and fast bowler Jeremy Cowin has already seen enough to predict Reading can not only go on to play for NSW at senior level, but wear the Australian baggy green cap one day.
"In my opinion Sam can go all the way," he said.
"There's just something about him.
"He makes wicket keeping look so easy and I've only seen him drop a couple of catches.
"His batting's the same.
"He keeps it simple with his technique and has a pretty good eye."
Reading was thrilled with the way he performed at Adelaide where he also took eight catches and made two stumpings.
"I was really happy, especially with the way I batted against Victoria," he said.
"I came in when we were four down for not many and had to hang around.
"Hitting the winning runs against WA was also good.
"We needed to score quickly."
Reading outshone rising star Kurtis Patterson with the bat as the top-order prodigy averaged 20.50 from his four innings.
Patterson, at 18, was the youngest debut centurion in Australian first-class cricket back in November for NSW and it came in a Sheffield Shield game against Western Australia, scoring 157.
"Kurtis can go a long way in the game," Reading said.
Reading, who hits balls in the nets and practises his catching every day, is unfazed about the many cricketers and observers who are saying the same about him.
"That's exciting," he said.
"A bit of pressure makes me play better.
"I want to play for Australia one day."