Max Bryant's best still to come
January 23, 2018
Max Bryant has the ability to change a game of cricket like few others.
And Australia Under 19s coach Ryan Harris is confident the young opener has plenty more still to give at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
The next opportunity for the Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat batsman will come in a must-win quarter-final clash against England in Queenstown.
Bryant has scores of 29 against India, 44 against Zimbabwe and 0 against Papua New Guinea so far for the tournament.
But Harris believes the 18-year-old is primed to follow in the footsteps of opening partner Jack Edwards and strike big by tournament’s end.
“We obviously haven’t seen the best of Max yet, I don’t think,” Harris said.
“Jack’s been excellent, he has that power to go and get us of to that flyer. Hopefully Max can come off as well. He’s due - he’s hitting the ball well, he’s seeing the ball well.
“Those guys especially, that’s why we’ve picked them, because we can get away to an explosive start.
“If the opposition are bowling well, they’re able to delay their power hitting and launch into a bit later on, that’s the way it goes.”
Having two aggressive openers is something that filters down from Australia’s top teams - and a sign of a team that wants to take on their opponents from the get-go.
For Bryant, the World Cup is about the ability to test himself and his style of play against the best in the world.
“I just try and get bat on ball really,” Bryant said ahead of the tournament.
“I think it’ll be a bit harder this year in the World Cup as there’s not going to be as many bad balls to hit - better quality teams and it might be a bit harder to score. But I think it’s going to make me a better player.”
Bryant was a force to be reckoned with in Queensland’s Under 19 National Championships campaign in December, and had he not been with the Australia Under 19s potentially could have pushed to play alongside Brisbane Heat stars Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum.
“I didn’t really see much of them (before coming to the World Cup, but they’re pretty chilled characters,” Bryant said.
“They play the game how it is, and they both like to be pretty attacking. I watch and learn what they do and try to take that in. They prepare well, and they’re pretty clear out in the middle it looks like.”
He also impressed for the Cricket Australia XI in the JLT Cup, hammering half-centuries against the two states he holds allegiances to - New South Wales and Queensland.
Hailing from just south of the Queensland border, the young gun was a promising rugby league player as a junior, but chose to pursue a career in cricket and has found an ally and mentor in Peter Forrest, the former Australian ODI batsman also originally from New South Wales.
“I was staying with Pete Forrest for a year while I was travelling up from the Tweed region, which is about an hour’s drive,” Bryant said.
“I was staying there a couple of nights a week, he’s one person who’s really helped me in cricket and just supporting me.
“I moved up as a 16-year-old to Gold Coast Dolphins, after playing at Cudgen on the North Coast. I played a couple of years in 3rd grade, and then 2nds and 1sts in the same year. I tried out for the Queensland Under 17s team and the first year I didn’t make it, but I tried out the second year and made it and it’s all come from there really.
“(Queensland U17s coach) John Davison is one I really turn to for my batting, and (Queensland U19s coach) Andy Bichel who’s a pretty chilled bloke and tells me to keep stuff simple.”
Keeping it simple is something Bryant will be out to do when the going gets tough at the World Cup - he just wants to enjoy it.
“It’s pretty cool, playing for Australia with your mates,” Bryant said.
“You can’t get anything better really.”