Glenn Maxwell’s reaction time was almost as quick as when he reverse-swept fast bowler Peter Siddle for six at Adelaide Oval.
Which young gun is ready to explode in the Big Bash?
“Little (Jake) Fraser-McGurk,” Maxwell said.
“I was lucky enough to do most of the pre-season with him this year and he looks class again.
“He just got 140 in the twos (Victoria Second XI) game (and) he’s just going to get better and better.
“I’m really looking forward to watching him go about his business.”
World Cup-winning captain and fellow Victorian Aaron Finch nodded his head in agreeance.
Fraser-McGurk, nicknamed “Rooster” for obvious reasons, burst on to the scene as Victoria’s youngest Sheffield Shield debutant since Cameron White in 2001, and third-youngest of all-time.
In February this year he coolly batted the Vics to a Shield win against a New South Wales attack featuring Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.
Fraser-McGurk played 10 BBL games for wooden-spooner Melbourne Renegades last summer and looms as a key batsman early this season, with new captain Nic Maddinson (Australia A) unavailable and Aaron Finch (knee) and Shaun Marsh (calf) also likely to miss games.
The kid who was once scratched on the face by a monkey in South Africa has only scratched the surface.
He is a buzz boy of domestic cricket. And he might be the youngest buzz boy, but he is not the only buzz boy.
“I think Nathan Ellis might take a step up,” master blaster D’Arcy Short said of his Hobart Hurricanes teammate.
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Ellis, 27, took a hat-trick on his Australian debut against Bangladesh this year and was in the Aussie camp for their T20 triumph in Dubai.
“He’s just got a few tricks up his sleeve,” Short told News Corp.
“He can swing the ball early and at the death, he knows his plans and he hits his yorkers or bowls the balls he wants to bowl for you to hit it to the field he sets.”
Yorkers are Ellis’s biggest weapon and his smaller frame means he can get in under a batsman’s swing.
Hulking Sydney Sixers batter Jack Edwards looks like a cult hero in the making.
“I think he’s an absolute superstar and he can’t be far away – he’s still very young 20 or 21,” Sixers opener Josh Philippe, a BBL superstar in his own right, told News Corp.
“He’s an amazing ball striker firstly. He’s obviously a big bloke, and they tend to play a bit of a different game than some of us.
“He’s just incredibly talented, he can hit the ball a long way and he’s a very handy bowler as well.”
Philippe was on the wrong end of Edwards’ 108 in last summer’s Marsh Cup final at Bankstown as NSW cruised to a 102-run victory.
Edwards also reached three figures in just his fifth limited-overs match for the Blues, becoming the youngest batsman to score a one-day ton at just 18.
Philippe said Edwards was not the only magenta man ready to take the Big Bash by storm, which sounds ominous for a club chasing a championship three-peat.
“Another Sixer, I’ll keep it in house, Lloyd Pope as well,” the Steve Smith lookalike said.
“There might be a bit more opportunity for him this year and he’s a very clever bowler.
“When he gets it right he’s extremely good. He’s a young spinner so that’s always hard and as a batter you often try to target that.
“But he’s got incredible skills and his willingness to learn is amazing.
“Steve O’Keeffe is very helpful there and gives him great advice.”
Sydney Thunder wrote out a sizeable cheque to re-sign Ollie Davies on a three-year contract last summer.
Sources say Davies would have to be the best-paid 21-year-old the tournament has seen, but he will have to earn his keep as Callum Ferguson’s replacement at No.3.
“He showed some real power-hitting ability,” Ferguson said.
“That’s his real strength – being able to put spinners to the sword.”
Mike Hussey rates Perth Scorchers allrounder Aaron Hardie, 22, highly and World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh, who captains the Scorchers, is expected to send plenty of balls into the crowd once his Australia A duties conclude.
“On what Mitch Marsh is doing I’m a bit scared to be coming up against him, to be quite honest,” Short said.
“And Josh Philippe is looking as good as ever going into it.”
Philippe was the player of the tournament last summer as the wicketkeeper batted himself on to February’s T20 tour of New Zealand before making his ODI debut in the West Indies.
Who will have the biggest bash this summer?
THE FINAL WORD ON …
JAKE FRASER-McGURK, 19 (Victoria, Melbourne Renegades)
“The message that’s been given to him is now go and show us through performance. Rather than just be picked on talent, we want him to really knock the door down if he’s playing for Richmond or if he’s playing for the Second XI. Some young players get to take the elevator and some young players get to take the stairs. Jake’s probably one who’s been fortunate enough to take the elevator a lot of the time and now we just want to see him take the stairs as well and show us he can consistently score big runs. He’s ticking all the boxes at the moment and if he keeps doing that it’s going to be pretty hard to keep him out of the side.”
Victoria coach CHRIS ROGERS
NATHAN ELLIS, 27 (Hobart Hurricanes)
“He’s a talented young cricketer and the way he’s so calm about it as well. He doesn’t get too flustered, he always looks like he’s under control.”
Hurricanes opener D’ARCY SHORT
JACK EDWARDS, 21 (Sydney Sixers)
“I’m hoping for our sake at the Sixers for big Jacky Edwards to have a big BBL. He’s been getting a few wickets in the Shield games for NSW so as an allround option he’s an extremely good option.”
Sixers opener JOSH PHILIPPE
LLOYD POPE, 21 (Sydney Sixers)
“As a young spinner it’s holding your nerve more than anything and he’s got a pretty cool head on his shoulders. I’ve got no doubt he’ll do well this year.”
… and the word two of Australia’s next TEST stars
CAMERON GREEN, 22 (Australia Test team, Perth Scorchers)
“I played club cricket with him, I’ve known him since he came on to the scene. I played against him in his first game when he smacked Victoria around the park at the WACA. He was pulling Jimmy Pattinson for six, which not many players do, let alone a first-gamer. Superstar. I think he’s going to have maybe a 15-year career for Australia. I couldn’t talk higher about him.”
Melbourne Stars opener and Western Australia teammate MARCUS STOINIS
JHYE RICHARDSON, 25 (Australia Test team, Perth Scorchers)
“Jhye is one of the smartest bowlers. He’s quick, he’s got all the tricks, he can swing it in, swing it out and he’s got his slower ball. But we talk about it often at WA – the main thing he does is he’s got all the tricks, but he keeps it consistent. He’s really harsh on himself and holds himself to a really high standard which I think helps him with how quickly he’s improved over the last couple of years.”
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