Highly-rated Western Australia allrounder Cameron Green believes he 'is a few good years' from being ready for international cricket despite calls from Ricky Ponting for him to be included in Australia's squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.
Green, 20, made his second Sheffield Shield century in three matches in a thrilling win over South Australia. He also has two five-wicket hauls in just 11 first-class games and is averaging 37.71 with the bat and 21.53 with the ball, although he hasn't bowled in the last two Shield games as a precaution after experiencing some back soreness earlier in the season. He already had a long history of back trouble and, at 200cm tall, he is being carefully managed by the medical staff.
Ponting told cricket.com.au that Green could be included in an extended squad against New Zealand, as a "left-field decision" to give the youngster a taste of the international environment without actually playing. This came days after Western Australia team-mate Marcus Stoinis said Green "could be the best allrounder Australia has had" during the match against South Australia.
However, Green was very quick to play down both sets of comments and dampened the excitement around his immediate international prospects.
"I did read that, [they are] incredibly nice words from Ricky," Green said. "But I think it's still a bit premature, to be honest. Obviously he's got a pretty massive word in Australian cricket. But I think at the same time he said it would be a pretty left-field move, and I totally agree with that.
"I think it's still way too early to be taking those comments pretty heavily. I've only played a couple of games as a batsman in the WA squad. I haven't really got those runs on the board, to be honest. I may have got a couple of good scores out of the way, but I'm definitely a good few years off I'd say."
Green, who was due to have another MRI on Tuesday, is still not bowling again and may have to wait until the BBL after experiencing back pain in the match against Queensland. He had fears of yet another stress fracture but the scans were clear.
"I thought it was pretty serious," Green said. "I've had three or four back injuries in the past that actually didn't hurt while doing everything else apart from bowling. This one, my back was actually pretty sore in the field and at home so I actually thought it was going to be a lot worse but the scan actually came up absolutely clear. My back was fine. I'm not really sure what was causing the pain but I was just sore."
Green burst onto the scene in 2017 having been given a rookie contract by Western Australia while he was still at school in Perth. He took a five-wicket haul on Shield debut against Tasmania in Hobart and played twice more that summer, but further back trouble in 2017-18 meant he did not play any Shield cricket that season. He played four matches early last season but again was managed after the BBL break due to ongoing back issues.
However, despite not bowling at the moment Green still wants to be a genuine allrounder. "Coming through as a junior I've always seen myself as a genuine allrounder," he said. "At times for WA, I was definitely a bowling allrounder, batting nine or ten and not scoring too many runs. So I'm pretty happy I'm getting a couple of runs out the way but in the future, I'd like to be a genuine allrounder."
He has been gleaning as much advice as he can off Stoinis about the allrounder's role. The pair shared a 122-run stand on day one against South Australia to dig WA out of a hole, but Green has paid more attention to Stoinis' bowling. "He thinks about the game so much and every single time he gets a wicket I go up and ask did you change anything, just trying to take little hints of what he does," Green said.
Green's batting was a major strength as a junior. He was a top-order player all through his schoolboy and underage cricket and has three first-grade centuries batting high in the top six for his WACA Premier club Subiaco-Floreat. His fast-track to Shield level came through his raw ability with the ball rather than the bat, where from 200cm he can bowl at close to 140kph and swing the ball away from the right-handers with a semi side-in action.
But his run-glut this season comes as no surprise. He credits a minor technical adjustment, with a return to a more natural stance and set-up. Green is an extremely orthodox player and as a junior he batted with a traditional bat tap and late pick up, like his hero Ponting, but last season he veered away from that set up to stand still with his bat raised upon delivery which left him feeling a touch rigid.
"I think it's just getting that confidence," Green said. "I've always been able to hold the stick in a way, it was just having that confidence to do it at this level. As a junior growing up it was those steps from second grade to first grade, from first grade to Futures [League], and then Futures to Shield. It's not always your ability, it's probably more the confidence you've got that you can play at that level. Probably getting two scores out of the way probably gave me that confidence."