McLean grabs Baggy Green
THERE is an old saying "if the cap fits, wear it" - and that certainly applies to Bundaberg's Josh McLean.
The 27-year-old Brothers wicketkeeper/batsman has made a proud addition to his collection of caps - a Baggy Green - not of the iconic Australian Test variety, but one awarded for his selection in the Team of the Australian Country Championships in Geelong over the past two weeks.
It was reward for an outstanding debut carnival for Queensland Country across their seven matches, taking 15 catches, effecting one stumping and recording some handy knocks in amassing 157 runs at an average of 31.40 with a highest score of 41.
The Brahmans placed third of eight behind New South Wales and ACT after starting with two two-dayers, tying first-up with defending champions Western Australia, then losing to ACT where McLean top-scored with 41 in a total of 117.
But they then defeated South Australia and Victoria in Twenty20 games, but lost narrowly to NSW in a two-dayer which followed, before edging out East Asia Pacific in a one-dayer.
However, they were beaten in a one-dayer in their final game by Northern Territory, which hit the winning runs on the second-last ball, chasing down Queensland's imposing total of 277.
McLean, who formerly played three Second XI games for South Australia and 203 First Grade matches in Adelaide and Brisbane before taking up a television sports journalist position in Bundaberg in December 2010, was a "bit surprised" when his name was read out in the team.
"I set a goal to achieve it but didn't know if it would happen; but when it did happily, I thought 'that's all right'," McLean said.
"I probably could have made more runs but I got a couple of 40s. I got 16 dismissals and had a pretty good tournament with the gloves and that's what got me in the team - I pretty much caught everything that came my way.
"I'm pretty sure I kicked out South Australian keeper Boh Wall who has been there for six or sev- en years and that was satisfying because I'm from there originally."
He is Bundaberg's first Australian Country representative since former Brothers champion Mick Warden gained the last of his seven Baggy caps eight years ago.
McLean claimed they were "probably the best team on paper".
"We tied with Western Australia and lost to NSW in the last over of the day, and that probably cost us the title, but we're all pretty excited to have the championships here in Bundy next year and everyone is keen to win it," he said.
The Australian Country team did not play a game but McLean is eyeing a place in the side next year with a game proposed against the Queensland Bulls.
"The Queensland Country team will come back together in August-September at the Sunshine Coast for three days against a touring ACT squad," he said.
"But my No.1 goal all season has been to help Brothers win a trophy - we haven't done it yet but after we only lost by one run (on first innings) last year, I'm pretty confident we can do it in two-dayers."