Gun Gympie cricketer to play for Australia this year
CRICKET: Gympie cricket star Brendan Westlake has taken another huge leap in his decorated career by earning selection in the Australian squad for the INAS Global Games later this year.
The 22-year-old was one of two Queenslanders picked in the 14-man squad to participate in an official nine day training camp at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane this week.
The final Aussie XI will then face England and South Africa at a Tri Series in October, including four T20 matches featured as part of the Global Games.
The Global Games give athletes around the world with intellectual impairments the opportunity to achieve excellence in sport and high-level competition.
Westlake said he was revelling in his latest opportunity to shine in the green and gold.
"I've had a few ups and downs; I dislocated my shoulder playing footy but that's coming good now,” he said.
"It was good to get down there and see all the boys. There's a few new boys around as well so it's good to get to know them.
"Four years ago I didn't think I'd be as good as I would be. It's taken time but there's a lot I can do now, on and off the field.”
Westlake previously earned Australian selection in 2014 and 2017, when he toured England under head coach John Lonergan.
Lonergan, who remains the national head coach, had glowing remarks for Westlake's talents.
"Brendan is a top four batsman; he is extremely strong and has a wide array of shots all over the ground,” Lonergan said. "He's a great fielder with a strong arm, so we'll use him to save runs in the outfield, and he bowls with a good energy too. He's just a great all-round cricketer.”
Longergan said Westlake had shown strong form during match simulation in the training camp, and would play a leadership role in the Aussie camp this year.
He said the Global Games would present an opportunity to showcase athletes with intellectual disabilities on a global scale.
October will mark the first time cricket has featured as an INAS Global Games sport.