Freeman, Uppal transition from U19 to Shield
March 08, 2018
Inside a month of Australia’s 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup campaign wrapping up in New Zealand, two players have gone on to debut in the JLT Sheffield Shield.
Param Uppal’s debut for New South Wales against Victoria last week was the second followed Jarrod Freeman, who had made his Shield debut the week before, earning his cap for Tasmania.
Freeman, 17, is now Australian cricket’s ‘Mr 2000’, in reference to him becoming the first ever Australian born in the 2000s to play Shield cricket.
“There was an article last year, and I think they were talking about ‘Mr 2000’, and never did I think I would be the first,” Freeman said.
“Lots of hard over the last six months, with the 19s and the World Cup, and to come back here and be able to play a Shield game, to be the first person in the 2000s to play is an absolute honour.”
Debuting against a New South Wales line-up with six former Test cricketers was always going to be a daunting experience, but one that Freeman relished.
“I was looking up at the scoreboard during the game, trying to count the Test players,” said Freeman with a laugh.
“It was obviously a really good experience to get to bowl at two or three of those blokes, it was really good.”
With a rain-interrupted game petering out into a draw, Freeman only had the chance to bowl once, but his figures were modest, bowling 22 overs and taking 1-92, picking up former Test batsman Ed Cowan as his first Shield wicket.
When asked about how he felt he went, Freeman said he was confident in his ability, and felt that while he was nervous in the first couple of overs, he soon settled down into his rhythm.
“I was obviously a bit nervous at the start, but I was pretty happy with how I went,” said Freeman.
“I thought I bowled pretty well.”
Like Freeman, Uppal came through his state’s underage ranks to debut against a potent Shield team, with Victoria’s side featuring eight players to have represented Australia.
Born in Chandigarh, India, Uppal moved to Australia when he was a child, making waves in the junior cricket ranks around Australia.
He earned his NSW Blues debut on the back of a stunning 133 against South Australia for NSW Metro in the Toyota Futures League.
Uppal managed 24 and five with the bat - despite scoring his first runs with a six - as New South Wales fell to Victoria in a thriller.
The duo’s debuts would have given those within the Cricket Australia pathways system great joy.
Earlier this season, Will Sutherland made his List A debut for Victoria in the JLT One-Day Cup making it three from the World Cup squad who have made their debut for their state, while highly-rated West Australian all-rounder Cameron Green broke through to state cricket ranks with a phenomenal Shield debut last summer.