MOISES HENRIQUES made it clear his selection in the Australian Test squad did not mean he had ”found himself” as a cricketer.
The 26-year-old all-rounder, who was earmarked as a Test player in the making when he made his debut for NSW at 17, said he still needed to continue to grow and learn.
”I certainly don’t believe I have found myself as a cricketer yet,” he told Fairfax Media. ”I need to keep improving. At this stage I think I’ve performed consistently in the Sheffield Shield for the last 18 months but it’s still not what you’d call a habit.
”You want those consistent performances over four years, that’s an ambition. This year my goal was to do it all year, but to get the recognition I received for the first five or six games this season and to make the Test squad presents me with a great opportunity to go away, play at the top level and speed up the process to become an even better cricketer.
”It will allow for me to train with the intensity the guys do in the Australian squad, and to have the support staff around as well is something I’m really looking forward to.”
Henriques said hearing his name read out as a member of the squad was a massive vote of confidence.
”That’s the biggest reassurance that you’re ready, being selected,” he said. ”At the end of the day the chairman of selectors, the selectors, the captain and the team are special. They don’t just pluck these guys out of thin air, they’re employed to do a job, their decision is backed and the fact they have selected you means there is a belief in your ability. At this stage, it isn’t if I think I deserve to be there or not. It is about going out and performing like an Australian player should and training like an Australian player should.”
Henriques, who was described by Shane Watson as Australia’s top all-rounder, dismissed reports his past few seasons had been ”tough” through injury and fluctuations in form.
”I wouldn’t say it was tough because in comparison to what other people go through, we, as cricketers, enjoy incredible opportunities. We do what we love and I don’t see how it can be called tough,” he said.
”I’ve never forgotten this is a great life, a great opportunity and I have always remembered to enjoy it and appreciate I am lucky to be in this position.”
Henriques added that his good fortune did not mean his career was without frustrations.
”I got thrown in when, maybe, I wasn’t ready and it took me a little while to learn how to deal with the failures at a young age,” he said. ”I think I’m a stronger person for it now.
”I’ve been around for a long time and in terms of experience I’m an old 26, but in terms of training I have benefited from being in the system for a long time.
”The testing times can burn you if you allow them to. I always knew if I was good enough I’d get the rewards. When I was younger I was a lot more in a rush to get there and I wanted things to happen straight away. I’ve been around the NSW squad for eight years now and I felt like I’d calmed down a bit.”
Henriques wanted his selection in the Australian Test squad to inspire the nation’s growing number of children from non-traditional cricket backgrounds to play the sport.
Portuguese-born Henriques’s selection was a world away from his start in the game, a process which was delayed because his parents didn’t know how to register him with the Penshurst West under-10s in Sydney’s south-west.
”I played a lot cricket at home in the backyard and it wasn’t until I went to school and played cricket against my mates that their parents told mine I should be playing cricket but my parents didn’t have any idea on how to sign me up; it was a completely different culture,” he said.
”I followed a good mate into it and scored a century in my first game and played representative cricket later that year … the sport opened a great world for me.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.