The son of a former Test captain is tipped to follow in his famous father’s footsteps and bat for Australia after making a big impression at junior level.
Austin Waugh, 17, son of Steve Waugh, made a name for himself in the national under-17 championship grand final with a match-winning century for NSW Metro in October.
Waugh was named player of the final when he hit an unbeaten 122 from 136 balls, including four fours and four sixes, in New South Wales’ victory over Queensland.
And his performance has culminated in what could be a breakout summer, after being named to play alongside Australia’s emerging talent in a BBL curtain-raiser and academy opportunities.
“The hundred in the 17s was probably a year or two above his age,” Cricket Australia’s pathways manager Graham Manou told AAP.
“He certainly came out and just changed the pace of the game, which is something, from my perspective, that we’re looking for. At times he did that in the under-19s and if he looks back, on reflection … probably didn’t capitalise as well as he’d hoped. But there’s a hell of a lot to like there from Austin.
“[Austin] certainly knows where he’s at and there will be enough people along the way to let him know where he’s at as well.”
The former Australian and South Australian wicketkeeper said the teenager’s lineage and striking similarities to Steve is “scary”.
“It was very scary, the first time I saw him, his mannerisms,” he said.
“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.”
Waugh turning heads
Throughout the under-17 national championships Waugh turned heads, scoring 371 runs at an average of 74.4 for the second-best figures in the tournament.
Only Queensland’s Angus Lovell, who hit two centuries and three half centuries at 80.17, bested the son of a gun.
But despite his iconic last name, Austin insists he is not trying to copy his father’s style of play.
“My dad’s always been around for me so it’s good to talk to him and he knows a lot about the game so he’s been a good influence on my cricketing career so far,” he said after his grand final ton.
“I haven’t really copied him, I’ve just tried to make my own technique and play the way that I want to play.”
Waugh also shone in the Cricket Australia XI under-19 carnival, making 53 in his first outing and a 140-run stand with Will Sutherland – son of Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland – later in the tournament.
The offspring of Australian cricket royalty will play for the Ponting XII in the BBL curtain-raiser (featuring the country’s best under-17 players) before the Sydney Sixers play the Perth Scorchers at the SCG on Tuesday.
They will face Australia’s top under-19s (the Gilchrist XII), including talented youngster Will Pucovski, who scored four centuries in Victoria’s title run.
Waugh will also take part in the Cricket Australia Pathway Rookie Camp in January, which is a four-day camp held for elite young players at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.