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An allrounder for the future

Moises Henriques might very easily be playing football in Portugal right now, rather than leading Australia at the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka

Andrew McGlashan

February 16, 2006

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Moises Henriques was talented enough to choose cricket, football or rugby. © Getty Images
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Australia's search for an allrounder is one of the more fascinating selection debates raging at the moment. They have tried Shane Watson, who is now back in the squad after recovering from another injury, then it was Andrew Symonds, who took time to settle before showing glimpses of his one-day form, and James Hopes is also knocking around. Some argue that Adam Gilchrist could bat at No. 6, followed by five frontline bowlers.

Now another name could soon be thrown into the melting pot, even though he has yet to play a first-class match. Moises Henriques might very easily be playing football in Portugal right now, rather than leading Australia at the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. He was born in Maderia and his father, Alvaro, almost reached the top Portuguese league. However, they emigrated to Australia when Moises was one and now he is showing quick footwork of the cricket kind.

He has been earmarked as a future international from a young age and his debut for New South Wales made him the their youngest one-day player. At the World Cup he has emerged as one of the outstanding performers, with his sharp new-ball bowling, attacking batting and calm captaincy. He is rarely out of the action and his destructive performance against Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals showed the influence of an allrounder when both halves of the game click at the same time.

The eye-catching aspect of Henriques is how technically correct he is with bat and ball. He has a high, flowing and easily repeatable action, generates plenty of pace through the crease and bowls an accurate bouncer. With bat in hand it took him a few innings to really hit his straps, but then he put on an awesome display of clean, straight hitting against Sri Lanka. He began as a fast bowler who could bat, but can now hold a place in the top four of the U-19 side. Trevor Bayliss, his coach at New South Wales, has compared him to Mark Waugh and there is certainly some resemblance in the graceful way he plays on both sides of the pitch.

Henriques was talented enough to choose cricket, football or rugby. When you hear: "That's a great strike from Henriques," it will be referring to a scorching boundary or perfect off-cutter, but it could have been a searing right-foot volley into the back of the net. If the early indications are anything to go by, he has made the right choice.

Timeline
February 2004 - At just 16 years old selected for Australia's U-19 squad for the World Cup in Bangladesh.
January 2005 - Plays in Cricket Australia Cup with NSW 2nd XI, takes 3 for 46 against Queensland Academy of Sport.
September 2005 - Tours India with Australia U-19s. Makes an unbeaten 85 in the first one-day match at Mohali.
January 2006- Becomes New South Wales' youngest one-day debutant, playing against Queensland at North Sydney Oval. Follows this with three Twenty20 matches.
February 2006 - Leads Australia U-19 team at World Cup in Sri Lanka, the only player remaining from the previous event.

Current form
Is the leading wicket-taker at the U-19 World Cup, at the semi-finals stage, with 13 victims, including 4 for 22 against Sri Lanka in the quarter-final. In the same match he smashed 79 off 60 balls with six sixes in an immense display of straight hitting

What he says - Following his 79 off 60 balls in the World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka
"It wasn't a premeditated plan or anything, I just went out and after the first few overs felt I was seeing it well. It was important not to let them settle and everything came off for me."

What they say - Geoff Tamblyn, manager of the Australian U-19 squad
"The key about him is that he is an athlete and I have no doubt that he would have been successful at whatever sport he'd decided on. He is already in the Development of Excellence squad that includes eight or nine first-class players, so even though he has yet to make a mark at that level I can assure you it won't be long until he does."

What you may not know
Henriques was born on the same island as Cristiano Ronaldo, the Manchester United and Portuguese forward. He also holds an EU passport so is eligible to play in England.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.

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