Australian cricket May 4, 2017

Will Sutherland pick football over cricket?

ESPNcricinfo staff
The cricket v football battle is on - at the home of Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland

Will Sutherland played against the touring Pakistanis in January 2017 © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

James Sutherland is the chief executive of Cricket Australia and as such one of his responsibilities is to campaign for the game's future. He might just have to start work a little early - around the time he wakes his son Will up for school - now that the 17-year-old is being courted by Australian Football League scouts.

Will is a seam-bowling allrounder who made his List A debut for the Cricket Australia XI against the touring Pakistanis earlier this year. In April, he was appointed captain of the national Under-19 team to play against Sri Lanka and, with a performance that fetched him 133 runs and seven wickets from four Youth ODIs, he helped win the series 4-1.

Last weekend, however, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, Will took the field for Scotch College's First XVIII side as centre half-forward against Xavier College and scored five goals in the Associated Public Schools of Victoria competition. His height of 195 centimetres is said to be of particular interest to the scouts, who also feel Will's deciding not to play the TAC Cup - so he can concentrate on his studies and his cricket - should not affect his chances of in the coming AFL draft should he choose to put his name up.

Will is not the first Australian cricketer to be facing this choice. Alex Keath had committed to a three-year contract with Cricket Victoria in 2010 despite receiving interest from the Gold Coast Club. He is currently a rookie with the Adelaide Crows. A more familiar face, Mitchell Marsh, was sought after by AFL scouts as well.

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  • rob on May 11, 2017, 21:17 GMT

    @ Behind_TBA: If Sutherlands tight fisted attitude turns his own very talented son away from the game it'll be more than just ironic. Drop dead dumb might be more like it. In a time when AFL, NRL and even the soccer are making big efforts to secure the youngsters Sutherland seems to be steering his ship in the opposite direction. .. I guess they must have their reasons for doing it but it just seems so counter productive it makes me nervous.

  • Terry on May 4, 2017, 21:28 GMT

    Ironic that Mr Sutherland is trying to push through a pay deal that gives less importance to rookie players and Shield cricketers and pushes those that also have football skills into the arms of AFL clubs via the player draft at 17. That is what will see talented cricketers like his son decide to turn their backs on cricket.

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