LOCAL rising cricket star Kyle Gardiner has taken yet another step toward his dream of representing Western Australia.
The 19-year-old leg spinner from Kwinana is one of six youngsters to have been awarded a rookie contract by the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) for the 2015-16 season.
Gardiner told the Courier he was excited to be awarded a contract, but also said it was �unexpected� because his 2014/15 season was interrupted by a shoulder injury.
�It was unexpected coming off the back of a season where I was injured for five months and only played in five first grade games (for Rockingham-Mandurah),� he said.
“It’s a big show of faith in me and I think that the lack of spin in the state got them interested. I’ve turned the ball on the WACA wicket and that left a mark on (the selectors). They see promise in my spin… obviously that’s exciting.”
The WACA announced its finalised list of contracted players for next season this morning, and WACA high performance general manager Ben Oliver described the group of rookies as among the �best young players in Australia�.
“As a group, they have performed well and we are looking forward to seeing them develop further over the next 12 months.
�It is also nice to see a number of players being rewarded with selection in Australian teams and national programs. This is something that everyone involved in Western Australian cricket should be very proud of.�
Gardiner has already represented WA at various junior levels and been involved in national under aged squads, as well as appearing for the WA second XI in the Futures League.
Last week he was announced among a group of young spin bowlers to be selected for a spin camp at Cricket Australia�s National Cricket Centre.
His mum, Denise Hanson, told the Courier that her son�s aim is to play Sheffield Shield cricket for WA, and getting a rookie contract made that goal one step closer to becoming reality.
�(His father and I) know the effort Kyle has put into his cricket over his lifetime, so as parents we were really excited that (the WACA) has acknowledged him as one of the best young players in WA, and thought of him despite his injuries,� she said.
�He was so excited last year to play in the Futures League, but finishing school was holding him back a little from training, but this will hopefully provide him more chances.
�It�s exciting because they don�t hand out (rookie contracts) like lollies.�
Oliver also said the awarding of a rookie contract was just reward for the good performances put in at district club level.
” This is a good indicator that club cricket and our talent development programs are working and gives us good reason to be excited about the future of WA cricket,” he said.