ACT under-17s batsman Kevin Jacob after scoring a century. Photo: Jay Cronan
After becoming the youngest century-maker in the history of the Cricket ACT first-grade competition, Weston Creek Molonglo opener Kevin Jacob's next challenge is taking on players his own age.
The 16-year-old will continue his step up to the senior ranks in the round nine John Gallop Cup one-day match with Eastlake at Stirling Oval on Saturday.
Less than a day later, Jacob will board a flight to Adelaide to lead the ACT's charge at the under-17 national championships starting on Monday.
The two-week tournament against the best junior cricketers in the country is the first step for players to push their case towards the next under-19 World Cup, in 2016.
Jacob made his first-grade debut for Weston Creek in 2012 as a 15-year-old before breaking through for three figures with an innings of 119 against Queanbeyan in November last year. ''It's a bit nerve-racking, but it's fun and competitive and a good chance to show what I've got,'' he said.
''I got a bit of sledging, I kind of laugh it off, there's really nothing I can say.
''I let the batting do the talking.''
Jacob grew up in Kerala, a south-western state in India, before moving to Australia at age seven.
He cites Indian great Rahul Dravid as the player he bases his game on and also admires the technique of former Test batsman Michael Hussey.
The year 11 Canberra Grammar student has been working with ACT Comets captain Jono Dean on his technique, including scoring with intent.
Dean is with the Adelaide Strikers Big Bash outfit and will catch up with the ACT under-17 team next week.
While Weston Creek has struggled in the two-day competition, it has shown to be one of the better sides in the 50-over format.
''We've been on and off, but in the one-dayers we've been playing really well,'' Jacob said. ''Eastlake are a strong team, so it'll be a good challenge for us.''
Meanwhile, Wests/UC will receive a boost for its match with Queanbeyan, after captain Ben Oakley was released from his Big Bash duties with the Strikers.
Oakley will return to Adelaide on Monday to rejoin the squad.
Queanbeyan captain Blake Dean has been called up to the Sydney Thunder squad for Saturday's game with the Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena.
The leg-spinner replaces Sri Lankan star Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has failed to recover from a back injury.
John Gallop Cup, round nine: Weston Creek Molonglo v Eastlake at Stirling; Tuggeranong v ANU at Chisholm; Queanbeyan v Wests/UC at Freebody 2; North Canberra Gungahlin v Ginninderra at Harrison 2.