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Cricketers on their idols

Kim Hughes on Austin Robertson Jr

Best footy forward

When glamour mattered more than technique

Nagraj Gollapudi

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That straight right kick: Austin Robertson Jr © Cricinfo Ltd
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Australian Rules football has always been very popular in Australia, and it was not surprising that my first hero was an Australian Football League player: Austin Robertson Jr, the full forward for my state, Western Australia.

Interestingly, Robertson played for the same club that my father represented, Subiaco Football Club. They weren't a good team, though. You had to be pretty mad to support them!

When I was seven, I just wanted to be Robertson. The main attraction was that he was the most important person in the team when he played. It was the glamour of the role that was so enticing.

When you are that age, it doesn't matter how someone plays his game, if his technique is supreme, or if he is mentally strong. I was too young to think about all those qualities in my hero; I just wanted to do what the main player in the team did.

But I still knew that he was good: he had a very beautiful straight kick, and for a full forward that was a big, big plus point. It didn't bother me that I kicked with the left foot and Robertson did it with his right.

I modelled myself on him, even wearing the same number shirt as him - I got a jumper and stitched the number 16 on the back of it. I always told others that Robertson was my hero.

I was lucky to have met him many times during the World Series Cricket days, since Kerry Packer had hired him to promote the WSC brand.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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