No Short cuts to fame for future star
THERE has never been an Australian cricket story quite like D'Arcy Short. And the most vivid chapters are yet to be written.
Of course the fact that he is indigenous means so much because in 140 years of Test cricket Australian has only had one male indigenous player pull on a baggy green cap - Jason Gillespie.
But it's more than that.
It's also the fact that he was born in Katherine in the Northern Territory and came through a junior system far removed from the traditional pathways before he left at age 19 to become that batsman who has rocked the Big Bash with scores of 96, 97 and 122 for the Hurricanes, the last a match winner against the Brisbane Heat.
But it's more than that as well.
It's the fact that he was once going nowhere as a cricketer and had to lose a whopping 15 kilograms to make something of himself, disappearing from view for several years.
Short is being talked about as a chance of replacing Chris Lynn in the national 50 over squad for the series against England.
At the very least he is a shoe-in for the soon to be announced national Twenty20 squad.
All this from a player who batted number nine for Western Australia in his last Sheffield Shield match in December after being selected primarily for his left-armed wrist spin.
Head Twenty20 selector Mark Waugh has already compared his potential trajectory to that of David Warner who started out as a Twenty20 star before blossoming in the Test match scene.
"If it happens it happens, not going to get my hopes up too much, there's a lot of talented players playing,'' Short said of his chances of being named Lynn's replacement.'
"I'd definitely be nervous but I'd be ecstatic (if he is called up). I'm just trying to keep still, watch the ball hard and not try to hit it too hard.''
Short is not short of mentors because his state coach Justin Langer and his Hurricanes coach Gary Kirsten are, like him, left handed opening batsmen.
Both were outstanding Test match performers who have taught him different things.
Langer has urged to be more professional.
'"Be disciplined, be smart at what you're doing and watch the ball,'' was Langer's advice to Short and he has taken it. Finally.
"I've been more professional, watching what I eat. Trained a bit harder and put a bit more intent into what I do. I lost 15kg.''
"Gary (Kirsten) just wanted me to try and bat longer in the innings and try and get us to a higher total. There's a bit more onus on me, bit of pressure on me to bat further into the innings.
"He's real good. He challenges you with trying to find different ways to score runs.''
And right now he is managing plenty.