Sydney, Nov.6 (ANI): New South Wales (NSW) pacer Burt Cockley sees India as his lucky charm as far as making his debut in cricket for Australia.
Cockley had two pre-season injury problems. A torn gluteus maximus muscle ruled him out of Australia A's first game against Pakistan before he was diagnosed with every fast bowler's nightmare - a bulging disc in his back.
Highlighting the lingering doubts, an Australian team physiotherapist called him on Wednesday night to inquire about his fitness before selectors agreed to choose him as cover.
Two years ago, Cockley was playing grade cricket in Newcastle. A year ago, he was a grounds man at the North Sydney Oval. A fortnight ago, he was unable to earn selection for the NSW XI for the Champions League finals. Now he's on the verge of an international debut.
"I was at home. I was in bed watching tele. Alex Kountouris, the Australian physio, rang me and asked me how I was travelling. I said I was fine, 'What's happening?' He said, 'You're on a shortlist to go to India,' and I was like, 'Righto'. Within 10 minutes the selectors rang and said, 'Congratulations, you're coming to India.' It was a massive shock. I thought I wasn't even close. I'm still pinching myself ... Just those words - selected for Australia - I still can't believe it, really," the Daily Telegraph quoted Cockley, as saying.
On his brief stint on the waiting list, Cockley added: "I walked out to Dad and said, 'Dad, I think I might be going to India.' He got off the lounge and said, 'You're kidding.' I told him someone had broken down and I might be going. He shook my hand, and in a couple of minutes they rang and said congrats."
Cockley was a late replacement for the injured Aaron Bird in the NSW squad for the Champions League. "I only got to bowl in the nets once," he said. "I was close to playing but didn't get a game."
Cockley took 4-39 at North Sydney Oval on Sunday in the Ford Ranger Cup.
His average in domestic one-dayers before then was 158. After Siddle broke down in India, Australia's chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch was at the SCG on Wednesday to watch Cockley in the Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia. Cockley's figures were less than eye-catching, 1-106 off 21 overs, but Hilditch obviously liked what he saw.
"They said there's a pretty good chance I'll play," Cockley said. "They said to be ready to go. Last night I was shaking, really. It's every kid's dream to play for Australia." (ANI)