Jake-Fraser McGurk – The ‘super talent’ who impressed his coach in just three deliveries



Jake Fraser-McGurk (PC: IPL/X)

As a 11-year-old kid, Jake-Fraser McGurk was destined to take up cricket as a professional sport. All he needed was a connecting path that would steer him for his chariot of dreams to the cricketing landscape. Enter, Shannon Young, an accomplished coach at Richmond Cricket Club and Young Gun Cricket. His eyes fell on the young prodigy by sheer coincidence, and it didn’t take long for him to gauge Fraser-McGurk’s promise.

“I was just passing a cricket ground. My daughter is of similar age to Jake, dropped her off for a birthday party, and there was a cricket ground down the road. I saw this little fella, he was at that time 11, he only hit three or four balls, there was something about him,” his coach told RevSportz. “When a full-time cricket coach, with 20 years of experience… obviously you get to know about talent.

“I asked someone his name, and they told his name, and I was coaching a premier club at that time. I just put it in the back of my memory bank that when I get a chance, I will invite him to our academy and that was 12 months later. When he came out there, we sort of threw him at the deep end and he faced senior bowlers. He was a pretty special talent and he just had the ability to hit balls in ways that kids of his age didn’t. He sort of had a no-fear-approach even back then. I was taken by this kid who played with freedom,” added Young.

Around a decade later, he sent seismic shocks through the Australian domestic circuit and beyond by cracking the fastest List A hundred for South Australia versus Tasmania. He followed that up with a prolific Big Bash League season for Melbourne Renegades, scoring 257 runs at a strike rate of 158.64. Just to put a bit of icing on the cake, he has touched astronomical heights in the ongoing IPL, accruing 259 runs at an astounding strike rate of 233.33. In fact, he currently has the best strike rate among batters who have aggregated at least 200 runs in IPL 2024.

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Jake Fraser-McGurk for DC (PC: IPL/X)

Just train your eyes further at Fraser-McGurk’s batting method, and he seems to blend cricket and golf to devastating effect. So, how good is Fraser-McGurk at golf? Did he ever consider taking up golf seriously? “He played golf with his grandfather as a young kid. I reckon, when he turned 16-17, he started playing golf just like most professional Australian players do; they are either playing cricket or golf. Similar to cricket, he had this power ratio to get his drive up a million miles.

“He is one of these kids who is super talented at anything that he does. Even at picking up a tennis racquet. He was a pretty good tennis player. His Instagram was devoted to golfing for a couple of years. There was a talk, probably not super serious, that he might go to the professional golf tour. But he has always been a cricket fanatic, he is a bit of a cricket tragic like me. You don’t really pick it up with the way he plays, but he is a student of the game, he watches a lot of cricket. He is a big fan of Michael Clarke, he watches Clarke getting 300 against India at the SCG. Golf is there but he was always a cricketer at heart,” he points out.

When it comes to Fraser-McGurk, Young has a treasure trove of anecdotes and recollections. And he narrates each one of them with a sense of passion. There is one innings in particular, where he smacked a monstrous six, which stands out. “Our relationship started, probably as I was more encouraging than the coaches he had in the past,” he says. “He was with us in the Academy for a year, we then promoted him to Premier League, which is a step under state cricket.

“Then he progressed to the first XI, he was our youngest player at the Richmond Club. And at 15, we played against Melbourne, they had a guy who was quick. He hit him the first ball. By the time we got to game three or four, he got a 60 odd at the age of 15. The next year, we went to the Albert ground, a pretty ground in Melbourne. He hit an experienced guy 80-90 metres and onto a tennis court. Everyone at the ground sort of looked at each other, ‘what are we seeing here’? He got 70 or 80,” he observed.

Jake Fraser-McGurk for Australia (PC: CA/X)

Young fondly remembers the praise showered on Fraser-McGurk by his batting partner during that blistering innings. “He was batting with one of our most experienced guys, a 35-year-old. This guy played with the Cameron Whites and the Dan Christians and some really good players. He walked off and said, ‘mate, this kid is a freak, never seen anything like it’.

“We went to the T20 competition, the national competition in Adelaide. He got 90 in about 30 balls. Jake just pulverised the opposition and got us into a position where we tied the game. And then he went out in the Super Over. We were chasing 15 or so. I think he got those 15 in just three balls. There has been some criticism that his numbers haven’t reflected his true talent over the years. He has probably played 40 or 50 games with us. But in terms of changing the momentum, he can do it in a space of one over or even one ball, the opposition is just dumbstruck with what he can do.”

The essence of Fraser-McGurk’s records not reflecting his burgeoning can be seen through his first-class average of 18.96 after playing 18 matches. Despite essaying a fine hand of 51 on his first-class debut and a couple of other crucial knocks, his career wasn’t moving in the right direction while playing for Victoria. Subsequently, he switched over to South Australia during the 2022-23 season and things have changed for the better.

“Recently, everything about his success in India is T20s. He had a good BBL, which led him to playing in Dubai and now the IPL. Technically, he is perfectly capable of doing well in four-day cricket. He has got a very good technique and a very good understanding of the game. His decision-making – there is work to be done on that – but he is just 22. He debuted for Victoria at 17, got 50 on debut in a four-day game. He got his first Shield hundred last season, that was close to a run-a-ball. There was a Shield game, not many people remember, but he batted for close to three hours to win it against New South Wales.

Jake Fraser-McGurk in IPL 2024 (PC: IPL/X)

“They were at full-strength – Lyon, Cummins and Hazlewood. He was pretty much the last recognised batter, and he defended really well. Australia famously looked at guys like Symonds and Gilchrist, who played Test cricket aggressively. I think there is a place for it. Even the Rishabh Pants of the world, we are seeing that integration. Even though it is a five-day game, Bazball has become the catch cry. He will be valued for any team he plays, just because of his high-impact ability,” he quips.

Fraser-McGurk has had his share of ups and downs not just on the field but off it, too. Roughly around four years ago, he had to return home from an Under-19 World Cup taking place in South Africa, after being scratched on the face by a monkey at a nature reserve. By then, he had already notched up an impactful innings against the West Indies Under-19. Unfortunately, his name burst into the limelight for wrong reasons.

Cut back to present and the narrative surrounding Fraser-McGurk is his insane power-hitting in the IPL, alongside his non-inclusion in Australia’s T20 squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup. His supportive family, especially his mother is chuffed about Fraser-McGurk’s exploits. As Young points out, “I keep talking to his mom regularly, I know she is up watching the IPL, every time he plays.”

The next step for Fraser-McGurk is to perhaps marry his prodigious skills with a bit of temperament. And he could very well match Glenn Maxwell’s prophetic words, “His potential doesn’t have a ceiling.”

Also Read: The curious case of Ajinkya Rahane

The post Jake-Fraser McGurk – The ‘super talent’ who impressed his coach in just three deliveries appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.


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The post Jake-Fraser McGurk – The ‘super talent’ who impressed his coach in just three deliveries appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.”}]] 

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