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August 31, 2008
If it wasn't for some frank words from his father, Brett Geeves would have been toiling away in a manual labour job in the miserable, wintry Tasmania weather on Saturday. Instead, he was working hard in draining heat for the priceless reward of two wickets in his one-day international debut.
Geeves had such a disappointing 2006-07 season with Tasmania that during the following winter he was hours away from giving up on the game, fearing he would lose his state contract. He was dejected at his poor form and being overlooked for the Pura Cup final, a match when his Tigers team-mates made history by winning the title for the first time.
"Probably ten hours," Geeves said when asked how near he came to giving up on his cricket career. "I was really, really close. I'd been offered a job and I was going to take it. I spoke to my father and he said 'No, don't. That would be pretty stupid'.
"Luckily I didn't and it's all worked out quite well. It was a labouring job. It was going to be tough work. I'm obviously stoked that I didn't take the position."
Instead, he concentrated on getting into better shape and completed a football pre-season with the Glenorchy club. Geeves believes the hard fitness work helped him become a more dangerous bowler and the results bear that out. In 2007-08 he was Tasmania's Player of the Year and was the equal leading wicket-taker in the FR Cup.
"[Glenorchy] flogged the pants off me to be honest," Geeves said. "I ran more than I ever thought I could run and it was just key to me getting back on the park and playing some good cricket. I've now got some confidence in my body, I hit the wicket a bit harder."
Despite his strong domestic season - and the surprise of being picked by the Indian Premier League team the Delhi Daredevils - Geeves was stunned to be called into the one-day international team. He had to wait until Bangladesh were four wickets down before getting his first chance to bowl but the build-up did not bother Geeves, who was too busy soaking up the atmosphere.
"There was always the chance of getting a couple of cheap ones at the end," Geeves said. "It was great just to be out there, the first 18 or 20 overs before I bowled. I got a catch and ran around and was patting everyone on the bum. It felt quite surreal."
Just as pleasing for Geeves was that his first wicket came with a genuinely good delivery, a leg-cutter that caught the outside edge of Dhiman Ghosh's bat. He finished with 2 for 11 but is not guaranteed of holding his place for the second match on Wednesday, with Shane Watson set to return to the side.
Regardless of what happens, Geeves remains thrilled to have capped off a remarkable 12 months by achieving something that seemed impossible less than two years ago. "I didn't ever think I'd play for Australia," Geeves said. "It's not really something I've thought about in the past. For it to happen has been quite unbelievable."
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