By Romy Stephens
Emerald’s Flynn Smith has a bright future ahead.
The 14-year-old cricket star was recently announced in the Vic Country Under-15 Squad, which will see him play in the National Championships late next month.
From the youngster’s point of view, reaching the state team was an unbelievable yet confidence-boosting achievement.
“It was exciting that’s for sure. I’ve put a lot of work in the last five, six plus years,” Flynn said.
“I never thought I would actually make it to that stage. Probably because I didn’t believe in myself. It was a long way away from where I was.
“It makes me want to think at the top level because where I am now, all the other players like Steve Smith have been there.
“It really gives me the confidence to go further.”
Flynn first started playing cricket about 10 years ago, when he and his dad, Mark, would head down to the local netball club and hit the cricket ball around.
Mark was also a promising cricketer when he was young, playing alongside the likes of Ian Harvey and under the guidance of names such as Dav Whatmore.
The cricket gene seemed to carry over as Flynn took a keen interest in developing his game.
At 10-years-old Flynn started playing club-level cricket with his younger brother, Alex.
He played at Emerald before moving to Mulgrave a year and a half ago, where he got his first taste of senior cricket.
“He was 13 and he was one of the youngest players ever to play Wright Shield,” Mark said.
“Other players that have gone through that Wright Shield program have been Will Sutherland…He did it when he was 15 or 16.”
Flynn has recently moved to Victorian Premier Cricket Club, Ringwood, where he is coached by Matt Fotia.
He also trains at TopLine Cricket in Bayswater, continues to play for Mulgrave on Sundays and Glen Waverly on Friday nights.
With Flynn’s brother also still playing, sharing the travel is a big commitment for Mark and the boys’ mum, Melanie.
“There’s a lot of travel, a lot of work, a lot of commitment and of course, you’ve got to love cricket,” Mark said.
Despite being positioned as a left-arm pace bowler, Flynn is known to also be handy with bat in hand, posing an average of about 40 runs.
He is also a good all-round athlete, making the State Cross Country Finals and recording 6:30 in the 2km time trial.
But according to Mark, things don’t come easy for his son who had to work hard for everything he’s achieved so far.
“To be good at stuff he’s learnt that hard work is what it takes,” Mark said.
“There are a lot of athletes out there and everyone sits back and goes they’re great athletes, it’s amazing how they’ve got all this fantastic sporting ability.
“But the one thing that people possibly don’t realise is the amount of hard work that goes into getting them to look like they’re natural athletes.
“He’s one of those, he looks like a natural athlete but he works really really hard on what he does.”
The Under-15 Male National Championships will take place on 20 February in Ballarat.
Flynn has also been invited as a net bowler for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which he will head to after the National Championships.