School cricket: Rising star one to watch

By Andre Zwan

Alexander Dowie ... Note the name, it could become a household one in New Zealand cricket.

With the Black Caps hierarchy scouring the country for young talent to develop, up pops a schoolboy saying, "Hi, I am here in Hawke's Bay."

Dowie, 17, in year 13 and heading for Waikato University to study commerce and business management, raised eyebrows when playing for Lindisfarne College against archrivals Scots College from Wellington - a three-day game that ended on on Tuesday last week.

Known as AJ, this slightly built, medium-fast right-hander ripped Scots College apart with a haul of 11 wickets for 57.

In stamina-sapping heat, he bagged 3-33 in the first innings, following up with a hostile 8-24 in the second. Lindisfarne have now squared the win/loss ratio against a team who have a $4 million cricket centre.

The battle between the schools began in 1957.

After the 57th match a fortnight ago, both have won 17 and drawn 20. Three were abandoned due to rain.

Lindisfarne's director of sport, Derek Martin, says Dowie's "a very promising all-rounder", considering the teenager had scored 80 off 52 balls for the first X1 against Cornwall a day before the Scots exchange.

Martin, who has represented New Zealand Universities and Otago, says: "AJ has the attitude and ability to become a class cricketer.

"To take eight wickets within a two and a half hour spell is no mean feat. AJ showed outstanding control and made life extremely difficult for all the Scots' batsmen."

What are AJ's plans?

"I have been very lucky," he says. "I decided at the age of 12 that cricket was my forte and I was encouraged by the likes of Mitchell McClenaghan, when playing for Cornwall, to follow my dream."

But for now education is his priority.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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