CONNOR Cook will have lasting memories of the first time he met Greg Chappell.
One of the great names in Australian cricket was handed the duties of reading out the Australian under-16 cricket side at the completion of the national titles in Maroochydore.
In a moment the youngster will cherish forever, Chappell read out Cook’s name as he was selected for his first overseas trip to Dubai in January.
Cook was one of the standouts during the eight-day competition where he was rewarded with selection in the team.
The Port Pirates off-spinner was blown away to be in the same room as the man who played 87 test matches wearing the Baggy Green.
“I shook his hand and he said he was really impressed with how I played and I was like ‘this is Greg Chappell telling me how good I played’,” Cook said.
“I couldn’t believe it.
I shook his hand and he said he was really impressed with how I played and I was like ‘this is Greg Chappell telling me how good I played’.Connor Cook
“We saw him when we went out a few nights before and he’s got a presence; you just know he’s there. Him and Australian cricket are pretty well-known.”
Cook put his selection for Australia down to the inaugural Mid North Coast Premier Cricket League despite Port Pirates challenging season where they didn’t win a game.
“The Premier League experience has been really good for us young blokes from every team,” he said.
“The way I learnt to play against some aggressive batsmen and the way they took you on made me think about how I was bowling.
“Instead of just putting the ball in a spot I had to work really hard for wickets.
It continued his rise through the ranks from local cricket to NSW All-Schools and now to national level.
“In juniors you don’t really play against those types of players who hit massive sixes and go after you all the time,” he said.
The Premier League experience has been really good for us young blokes from every team.Connor Cook
“They don’t have as much respect for your bowling as the younger kids so you have to earn it throughout the season.”
The confidence Cook will gain from his selection will help take his own game to the next level.
“I’m definitely a better player now than I was at the start of the season,” he said.
“I’ve got some self-belief and it boosted my confidence because when I came back I was on top of the world.
“I have to keep working hard, but now I know I can go places.”
Cook’s New South Wales team were bundled out in the semi-final stage of the national titles despite strong performances that saw them win five of their six games.
“We lost the semi-final to Victoria after demolishing every other team and then they beat the other NSW side in the final,” he said.
“I thought I bowled really well, took wickets when I needed to and created pressure at the other end.
“I had a bit of belief I could get picked, but I wasn’t expecting to be picked. When they called my name out I was just ecstatic; I couldn’t believe it.”