Wil Parker dreams of meeting Shane Warne after 'special' debut

Wil Parker's first time on the SCG was to make his first-class debut Getty Images

Wil Parker, the 17-year-old Victoria legspinner, had never been to the SCG before being handed a Sheffield Shield debut this week.

It has been a wide-eyed experience: presented his cap by Peter Siddle - who is his room-mate for the Sydney trip and made his first-class debut when Parker was three - to be the state's fourth-youngest debutant (behind Gerry Hazlitt, Cameron White and Jake Fraser-McGurk), followed by a day watching Nathan Lyon go about his work and then a maiden first-class wicket of a batsman who scored a Test century a little over a year ago.

Kurtis Patterson, batting confidently on 54, advanced down the pitch and got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Seb Gotch although he would have been out stumped anyway.

"I didn't think I got the wicket because Gotchy's reaction was as if he'd missed but he ended up taking the catch which was pretty special," Parker said. "Kurtis Patterson, not a bad wicket to get first up. Over the moon."

Did him with the wrong 'un? "Nah, it just slid on," he admitted. "I like to say I have a wrong 'un and a toppy, still working on the flipper."

Naturally for an Australian legspinner, especially one from Victoria, the next part is fairly obvious. The mention of Shane Warne. "Oh, yeah, my idol," he said. "Let's be honest, every young legspinner, let alone a Victorian, should have Shane Warne as their idol."

He has yet to meet Warne. "That would be a dream to have a chat with about legspinning, specifically, and just life as well."

For a moment consider that Warne played his last match for Australia in 2007. A lot of highlights have been watched on YouTube. On Parker's bedroom wall, the memories are of more recent Australian vintages: the 2013-14 Ashes-winning side and the 2015 World Cup team.

While a debut at the MCG may have ticked every box, striding out at the SCG is a heck of a way to see a ground for the first time. "I'm actually a Sydney Swans fan so it's actually not bad debuting here, pretty special. I've never been here, so first time to play here is pretty special."

A (non-alcoholic) drink with Lyon after this match would cap things off. "Yesterday [Friday] was pretty special to sit back and watching from the changing rooms…that would be something special, just to sit down with him."

The AFL mention moves neatly onto another major part of the Parker story. He is a hugely talented dual sportsman - tipped to have a chance of a professional football career - with the choice that will bring before too long, but not quite yet.

"There will have to be a time where I make a decision but at the moment I'm just trying to take each season as it goes. At the moment it's cricket season, I'm loving cricket, and when it's footy I love footy. There will be a time to make a decision but that's not just yet. Just trying to enjoy cricket at the moment, representing my state at the SCG is pretty special."

At the moment he balances cricket training with Monash Tigers and football with NAB League side Eastern Ranges. "Currently I'm trying to get to some pre-season sessions at the moment, juggle it all. Still keeping fit, kicking the footy around," he said.

Victoria team-mate Will Sutherland had the same decision to make and went with cricket. "He reckoned he was always going to play cricket, whereas I don't really know yet," Parker said.

There is strong sporting linage in the family. His uncle, Geoff, played 37 first-class matches for South Australia and Victoria between 1985 and 1999. In 1988, he captained Australia Young Cricketers at the Youth World Cup and also played football in the late 1980s. He now works in AFL recruiting with Port Adelaide.