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Comet's close encounter with his star

Jono Dean.

Jono Dean. Photo: Paul Egan

He was given one of Ricky Ponting's bats as a reward for making his first century. So it's only natural Jono Dean will be star-struck when he shares a dressing room with the greatest run scorer in Australian Test cricket history.

The ACT Comets captain can press his claims for higher honours when he opens the batting for the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies at Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old's been piling on the runs since his junior days, when his father promised him a Ponting bat as a reward for his maiden ton.

''My old man said when I was in under-12s, the first hundred you score I'll buy you a good, nice oil bat,'' Dean recalled. ''And I scored a hundred at the end of the year and dad, true to his word, bought me a Ricky Ponting Ridgeback 2000.

''I've still got that at home. Ponting's one of the guys I've looked up to … so I'm really looking forward to getting out there and seeing how he goes.''

Dean earned his spot in the invitational line-up on the back of stellar form for the Comets in the Futures League, and for Queanbeyan in the Cricket ACT grade competition.

He was on the verge of earning a Big Bash League contract with the Melbourne Renegades and the Perth Scorchers, and knows a big score against a quality West Indies bowling attack will go a long way to helping his cause.

''I'll be out to try and impress and try to pick up as much as I can,'' Dean said. ''I've worked hard in the last few weeks and hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity.''

''Hopefully I can lay bat on ball.''

Promising Eastlake paceman Nick Winter is 12th man for the PM's XI.

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