Since his prodigious feats with bat and ball at the tender age of six on his home turf of St.Clair in Sydney, Liam Doddrell is a name that has been attracting wide attention for lovers of cricket over the years. Following  my articles about Liam a few years ago when the cricketing world sat up and took notice of this promising youngster while the press eulogized his prowess out in the middle, it appears that this consummate young cricketer has     the potential to make the jump to senior international cricket today. It wont be wrong to surmise that this could be his next big move. His meticulous and promising talent, his skill in every aspect of the game, his precision with bat and ball which is free – flowing and very easy on the eye, and his cricketing intellect makes Liam the next best prospect in the gentleman’s game ! 

 While Liam has a legion of fans, his progress is of special interest to many old boys of Saint Anthony’s College in Kandy because he is the grandson of that Anthonian cricketing great, the late Charlie Joseph whose wizardry on the cricket field is legendary. Sadly, Charlie isn’t around today to foster and further develop Liam’s talent.

 In an email which I received from Liam’s Dad Daryn, he mentions Charlie telling him that if he and Samantha (Charlie’s daughter) ever had a son, they should  introduce him to the game of cricket which apart from the sporting aspect, was a game which built character.

 Daryn adds that coming from New Zealand a country famed for its rugby, he always worried that he had no skills in cricket and often wished that Charlie was around. So in those early years he took Liam to the nets on the weekends and bowled to him. Apart from that Liam was always in the backyard practicing by hitting the ball against the brick wall and he basically trained himself ! It soon became apparent that young Liam was talented in every aspect of the game  – batting, bowling, fielding, and even as a wicket keeper. He was virtually a one man team ! By the age of 12, his batting technique was well beyond his years. It was obvious that the lad had a natural talent like his illustrious Grand Dad. But that was then. Today, indications are that Liam is one of the best young prospects in cricket.

Liam is now 17 years old and has been selected as a member of the New South Wales Cricket Academy which nurtured him from the age of 12. He started out of as a number 3 batsman, a very good bowler, and an excellent fielder.  Over time his bowling has improved significantly and this has been an asset to him and his team.

Unfortunately a few injuries proved a setback for Liam. However 2019 was the watershed year for this rising star who really blazed a trail of glory. Liam made the New South Wales under 17 team and played in the National Cricket Carnival in Mackay in September. It was his performance in this carnival that won him selection for the  Under 17 Australian team. This was one of his greatest achievements. At this cricketing fiesta, Liam was clocked bowling at a speed of 136 km. Daryn says that he was very proud of Liam especially as a Kiwi Dad. There are  many great batsmen in Australia around Liam’s age, but bowlers as fast and precise as Liam are rare.

Liam has been playing grade cricket for Penrith for 3 years and is currently in the second grade for the 1 day and 2 day matches. This year he made the first grade for the 20/20 tournament  season playing for Penrith. And true to form, he excelled. Prior to this he played representative District Cricket for Penrith, and also played in the under 16s Green Shield, and in the under 21 Povideon- Gray Shield. He also represented his school in cricket, and was selected for the New South Wales all schools cricket team.

Liam was invited this year to train with the Sydney Sixers which was an opportunity to showcase his bowling talent in particular. Unfortunately a side strain injury the following weekend meant that cricket took a back seat for a few months. Over the years Liam has had a few injuries including a back stress fracture, a broken collarbone, a bruised foot and the side strain. But this little trooper took it all in stride and the best is yet to come !

Liam is a carbon copy of Charlie especially in his mannerisms, and also when he plays cricket. Charlie and Liam both scored 123 “not out”. Liam scored his 123 when he was playing for New South Wales against Tasmania. That was the last time he batted at the top of the order.

 Unfortunately with the insidious Covid-19 pandemic, all training sessions in New South Wales –  and Australia in general have ceased. In December there is a very important Cricket Carnival scheduled to be held in Perth. Liam will be playing in the Australia Under 17s cricket team, against the Under 19 State teams. From this carnival the under 19 Australian team will be selected. In 2021 the England Under 19 team will be visiting Australia to play against the Australian under 19 team. Liam is a sure winner to be selected for the Under 19 team and spectators will be treated to a cricketing bonanza whenever he takes the field. The “Charlie Joseph” magic is very much in evidence ! There is a lot of cricket to follow and the forthcoming season is a very important  one. And we his fans await with bated breath and eager anticipation. until Liam walks out to the middle. Go Liam !!

Bernard Van Cuyenburg

Bernard VanCuylenburg

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