A Wanaka teen will be donning an international jersey later this year, after being selected to attend the Indoor Cricket Junior World Series in Dubai.
Sam Harper (14) was hand-picked for the 15-and-under lineup after impressing coaches at a provincial tournament in Auckland last month.
Over the three-day event, the year 10 Mount Aspiring College pupil achieved the highest batting average at 22.75 per game, and the highest strike rate at 197.
Sam’s strong performance was underscored by the fact that there are no indoor cricket facilities in Wanaka, and practice had amounted to a few net sessions with his dad before the tournament.
‘‘We came down to the nets and just practised the skills a couple of times,’’ Sam said.
‘‘But I went in pretty blank and just played.
‘‘It’s all the skills of outdoor cricket. You just need to change up a few things so it’s not too difficult.’’
Sam’s dad, Hayden Harper, said the cricketing star was being too modest.
‘‘Sam says it’s pretty easy but it’s actually not because this is an instinctive game.
‘‘It takes skill. More than he’ll admit.’’
Sam described the moment he was selected for the team as ‘‘unreal’’.
‘‘It just came out of nowhere. Like I knew there was some sort of chance maybe, but then they called out my name and then I just turned around and looked at all the team clapping.’’
Sam will join 11 other players in his age group from across New Zealand on the journey to the world series, which takes place between September 30 and October 7.
Other nations competing for the top spot include Australia, India, the UAE, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
The team has already begun fundraising for the trip, including a raffle offering businesses the chance to display their logo on the team uniform.
Sam, who also plays outdoor cricket for the Luggate Albion
Cricket Club’s youth and senior men’s teams, enjoys all versions of the sport and hopes to play for the Black Caps some day.
For now, though, he is happy representing New Zealand on the indoor pitch.
‘‘It’s real fun. Just fast-paced and pretty cool. Just a different version of cricket, which is great.’’