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Steve Waugh's son Austin makes waves for Australia Under-19s

The young Australian hit 40 not out as Australia took a 2-1 lead over Sri Lanka Under-19s in the Youth ODI series.

Waugh has been circling Australia’s youth circuits for a short while (Image courtesy: cricket.com.au)

What’s the story?

Austin Waugh, remember the name – and yes, there is a connection. Son of Steve – the legendary, tough-as-nails Australian captain – Austin is showing signs that he could be the next star from the Waugh dynasty, which also boasted Steve’s twin brother Mark, with an eyebrow-raising efforts for Australia Under-19s.

And according to former international wicket-keeper and pathways manager of Cricket Australia, Graham Manou, the link between Austin and Steve extends beyond the name.

“It was very scary, the first time I saw him, his mannerisms. Genetically, I suppose you’d expect (it) but it’s like he’s watched a tape of his old man for years. They’re very, very similar,” Manou told News.com.au.

The context

Waugh has been circling Australia’s youth circuits for a short while, with his biggest knock to date coming for NSW Metro last October. The youngster struck 122 in the final of the Under-17s National Championships to lead his side to victory, the perfect finish to a tournament in which he scored 372 runs at a 74.4 average.

But his call up to the international Under-19s – just six months after excelling in the domestic Under-17s - for the series against Sri Lanka is his biggest assignment so far – and the all-rounder is backing up his promise, with three wickets and 75 runs, helping the Aussies to a 2-1 lead.

The heart of the matter

If what we have seen so far is foretelling, Austin has much of the versatility his father did. Steve began as a firebrand and a risk-taker, before becoming gritty and astute with age.

The newest Waugh has displayed impeccable composure against Sri Lanka Under-19s, as if he’s following a modern cricketer’s textbook. Sent in at five in the third Youth ODI, Austin guided Australia to 251 for 7 with a stabilising unbeaten 40. He started slowly, but grew as the innings progressed, eventually hitting two boundaries and a six.

But he still has the youthful exuberance to crunch a bouncer straight down the ground for six, as he showed in a pre-tournament Big Bash League exhibition featuring tomorrow’s possible stars.

What’s next?

There are still two more games to come in the five-match series versus Sri Lanka for Waugh to impress in. He has plenty of time on his side and looks to be excelling ahead of his age bracket. Becoming an integral part of the Under-19s over the next year or two will likely be his primary cricketing goal.

Author’s take

Simply being good at cricket will subject Austin Waugh to enough hype, that he is Steve’s son is sure to only amplify things. Remember, after all, that he’s only in the Under-19s, and that the crucial period in his development as a cricketer is still to come.

But he’s unique and innovative, as his audacity to whack a bouncer over long-off – if nothing else, it demonstrates remarkable timing, power and knowhow. He has certainly got our attention.

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