Sport

Baxter quietly goes about bowling heat

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February 17, 2017

Baxter, 15, has almost unprecedented talent for someone so young, but is about as far from egotistical as you could imagine, with hard work high on his agenda.

If you bumped into the quiet and unassuming Ethan Baxter down the street, you would have no idea the lanky teen regularly breathes fire to rip the heart out of Haisman Shield batting line-ups for fun.

Baxter, 15, has almost unprecedented talent for someone so young, but is about as far from egotistical as you could imagine, with hard work high on his agenda.

It shows too, with Baxter’s budding career highlights already outstanding, but as a country product it means he has to travel far and wide in search of higher glory.

‘‘The way I think about it is there are lots of people who have it worse than us, we’re only two hours from Melbourne,’’ he said.

‘‘(Dad) is really good with it, I appreciate him taking us to heaps of places all the time.’’

Perennially the youngest in his team, Baxter began playing under-11s aged seven, took his first senior level scalp aged 10 in D-grade (2-17 if you don’t mind) and debuted in A-grade for Central Park-St Brendan’s aged 13 in a Twenty20.

Yes, you read that correctly, Baxter has been terrorising senior cricketers four and five times his age for half a decade.

‘‘A-grade’s been awesome, it’s been really fun, I really enjoy the professionalism of it,’’ he said.

‘‘I was pretty nervous at first, but everyone helped me, at Central Park it’s always good, they make you feel welcome.’’

It would come as no surprise then that the budding Tiger will showcase his talent on the national stage at the School Sport Australia 15-and-under Cricket Championships in Brisbane after being selected for Victoria Country.

It is the second time the teen has represented his state at national level, after opening the bowling for Victoria in the 12-and-under championships in Darwin.

‘‘It means a lot to me,’’ Baxter said.

‘‘It’s cricket at the highest level, I’m definitely looking forward to it.’’

Baxter took eight wickets in five matches at the 12-and-under nationals, with each wicket only costing him 10.1 runs, but he will expect a lot more from himself this time around.

‘‘Of course (stepping up a level) is tough, but you’ve just got to get used to it and work a bit harder on it,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to play at the highest level I can, but I also want to enjoy it, and I think the higher I play, the more I will.’’

The young gun is the second Tiger to be selected for Victoria Country this year after Arnika McGregor travelled to Canberra for the female under-15 national carnival last month.

Fellow Northern Rivers product Ryan O’Keefe, who plays his cricket at Kangaroo Flat, will join Baxter for the March 25 to April 1 tournament.

Baxter will represent Notre Dame College at the school sport national carnival, while O’Keefe hails from Bendigo South East College.

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