Rising star Oates ready for international test
December 26, 2018
Only two Tasmanians have ever won the player of the tournament award at the Under 19 Male National Championships.
The first, a man who has represented Australia on almost 150 occasions across all three formats.
Tasmania’s current captain, Matthew Wade.
The second, a young man who has just been called up to a national side for the first time, and may one day follow in his footsteps.
Tasmania’s current under-19 captain, and new Australia Under 19s player, Keegan Oates.
Oates has been a regular fixture in Tasmania’s underage teams for a number of years, working his way through the ranks.
And the 18-year-old all-rounder from Lindisfarne CC and has now made his mark – starring at the recently completed Under 19 Male National Championships in Adelaide.
With the bat, Oates scored 430 runs at 71.67 from eight innings at first drop.
With the ball, nine wickets. As captain, five wins – more than any other Tasmanian side in recent years.
“I’m pretty happy,” Oates said.
“I prepared well coming in, it’s probably the hardest I’ve trained for the last couple of years and working with our coaches Ali (de Winter) and Wade (Townsend), they’ve been phenomenal in helping me.
“I came into the tour being fairly positive. I was more focused on the captaincy and just doing right things there and leading by example.
“I didn’t think I’d come close to being player of the tournament or making as many runs as I did.”
Oates had previously represented Tasmania at under-19 level on two occasions, as a 16 and 17-year-old.
As a top-age player this year, he showcased his ability to make big scores.
On four of eight occasions he passed 50 – and three of those led to scores of more than 90.
A 99 not out in Round 1 against the CA XI was followed by an unbeaten 124 against Western Australia in Round 2, with two more half-centuries to come against Victoria Country (94) and the Northern Territory (79).
“Our openers both had their roles and I’d come in (at three)… if we lost a quick one or got off to a flyer, my role didn’t change,” he said.
“We tried to have a set batter in at 40 overs, and I tried to play that role.
“I backed myself to have a few balls out in the middle (at the start of my innings) and then be able to cash in at the end.”
As player of the tournament, Oates joins an elite group of names.
Alongside Wade, the list of those who’ve previously won the award includes current Australian players Usman Khawaja, Billy Stanlake and Travis Head (twice), and legends of the game in Ian Healy, Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist.
Now Oates will get his chance to don the green and gold himself, in a four-match series against Sri Lanka in the island nation in early 2019.
“This is the first Australian team I’ve made,” Oates said.
“I was pretty nervous (waiting).
“They finally called my name out and it was pure relief. I went up there and shook Ryan Harris’ hand. I called my family back home later that night, and they were really happy.”
Oates will be joined in the squad by Lindisfarne teammate and good mate Jarrod Freeman, which makes selection that little bit sweeter.
“He’s a really good mate of mine (Jarrod), and I’m not surprised he made it. He’s a great cricketer an even better person,” Oates said.
“Frog and I are pretty close, we’ve played together since the Under 15s.
“I’m lucky to have another Tassie boy with me in the squad, I’m looking forward to touring with him.”