Jono Dean wants to open in next month's PM's XI match. Photo: Colleen Petch
Chris Gayle has made a name as one of the most explosive batsmen in the world, but Canberra Comets opener Jono Dean would love nothing better than to go head-to-head with the West Indies maestro.
Dean has been picked for the Prime Minister's XI team to play the Windies at Manuka Oval on January 29 and would be ecstatic to open the batting on his home ground.
He admits the nerves are already starting to build, but was excited about taking guard as Kemar Roach charged in with the new ball.
It would be the thrill - and test - of a lifetime.
''Hoping to open, that'd be fantastic, but anywhere in the top six I'd be happy to play a role, but I'd love to open - that's where I've been batting for the Comets,'' Dean said. ''…[Roach] is obviously a world-class bowler … it'll be a good opportunity to get out there and test my skills against one of the quickest going around.''
And while Dean is looking forward to seeing the modern-day master blaster up close, it was the likes of Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden who he idolised growing up.
He'll get the chance to live a boyhood dream when he plays with Ponting, who has been named captain of the PM's XI in what amounts to his farewell international fixture after he retired earlier in the summer.
Dean has based his game on the way both Ponting and Hayden took the game to the bowlers right from the word go.
''It's going to be a huge day being [Ponting's] last game,'' he said.
''For me to get the opportunity just to be alongside someone like that, I'm just lost for words.
''I'll try and draw from the experience and try and draw as much as I can from someone like him to try and further my knowledge and skill base.''
Dean said there was no point playing with some of the biggest names in world cricket if you didn't use it to your advantage.
''I want to get amongst it, I'm not there to watch,'' he said. ''I'll back my ability and hopefully something comes off for me on the day, but cricket's a funny game and I could go out there and get a first-ball duck.''
Dean will start getting his eye in this weekend, with Queanbeyan taking on North Canberra-Gungahlin at Freebody Oval as the two-day Douglas Cup resumes on Saturday.