Duff aims high in auditions
YOUNG Bundaberg all-rounder Chris Duff is in the running to become Australia's first “Cricket Superstar”.
Cricket Superstar, which will go to air on pay TV network Fox 8 later this year, will pit 15 up and coming cricketers from around the country against each other for the ultimate prize – a rookie contract with their state association.
Duff was nominated for the Queensland trials for 17-to-22-year-olds at Allan Border Fields recently, and made it to the next round after being selected from around 70 aspirants from throughout the state, including many from Brisbane.
The 19-year-old TAFE student, who also works part-time, is a crafty spin bowler who is also very capable with the bat and is a real terrier in the field.
He has been a member of Bundaberg representative teams since under-15, and has also represented Wide Bay up to open age level.
Duff was an integral member of the Across The Waves team which won the Division 1 premiership earlier this month, and was also a joint-winner of the Bundaberg Division 2 Player of the Year and their bowling aggregate and average awards.
He also impressed selectors in Brisbane with his athleticism and fielding ability.
For the quietly spoken but fiercely competitive Duff, the next step in the process will be to attend an “Intensive Selection Weekend” in Brisbane from September 2-4.
He will be provided with return flights to Brisbane for the weekend, along with transfers and accommodation and food.
A final squad of 15 will be named to live together and train at Brisbane's Centre of Excellence for six weeks under Test legend Allan Border, with players to be eliminated each week.
The program was unveiled by Border in a revolutionary plan to comb the country for untapped talent in a bid to unearth Australia's next cricketing superstar.
Border said the concept was “anything but a blatant ratings grab”.
He is convinced the show, which will follow in the footsteps of Football Superstar and The Contender, is capable of discovering a number of players who could challenge for a baggy green cap and help return the previous Ashes urn as early as 2013.
“That's the message we'll be sending out to these kids, that there is never a better opportunity in Australian cricket for a young bloke to make a name for himself,” Border said.
Duff knows he has got a long way to go if he is to progress beyond the next stage, but he also knows it is a chance of a lifetime, and he will give it his best shot.
He will maintain his fitness during the off-season, playing for Alloway in the Football Bundaberg Premier League.