Teen gives cricket stars a run
HELPING the Australian Cricket Team train before the Brisbane test is a big responsibility, but for cricket-mad teenager Mitchell Bunker it has been one to relish.
The Kingaroy 16-year-old was picked to help the team warm-up ahead of the second test in the series against India.
Picked with about 15 other juniors, he was selected for his impressive skills as a fast bowler to help the team get ready before tomorrow's test.
For Mitchell, who has been a cricket tragic since he first picked up a bat at age five, the responsibility felt a bit overwhelming.
"I'll definitely get nervous, these guys are all my heroes," Mitchell said.
At more than 180cm tall, he bowls with impressive speed for his young age.
"Techniques vary a fair bit for bowlers," he said.
"I'm tall so I use that to my advantage."
Training with the Australian Cricket Team was just the latest in a series of successes for the bowler.
He was scouted by St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane and moved to board at the school and play in the cricket team.
With a large list of alumni in almost all fields of Australian sport coming from the school, he is aware that the facilities at the school give him a chance to do great things.
"I started there this year," he said.
"It's got good facilities and really good coaches."
Next year is set to be busy, with the Nudgee team flying to New Zealand for a cricket tour and competing in the Brisbane-based GPS cricket competition against other elite school teams.
But Mitchell said he wouldn't have been able to get to where he is today without the help of local cricket coaches in Kingaroy.
He originally started in the Kingaroy Junior Cricket in the under-10 team, and was occasionally helped along by Carl Rackermann who recognised his potential.
"Carl helped me out a lot along the way," he said.
"He's come and coached me privately when I've needed it a few times."
Being around such talented cricketers has inspired Mitchell and he said he would love to go professional.
But in the meantime he plans for more grounded ambitions after school.
"It's definitely my dream (to play cricket)," Mitchell said.
"But my plans are to go to university and probably study engineering."