Meet Cricket Sensation, Sam Heazlett

Sam Heazlett

TCM Ambassador, and up-and-coming cricket sensation, Sam Heazlett is fast becoming a household name. Since his first-class debut in November 2015, his name is frequently preceded by adjectives such as “outstanding, star, talented and impressive,” and for good reason.

The 21-year-old left-handed batsman of Redlands, Queensland scored 129 and 78 during his premiere against Tasmania in the 2015-16 season. He went on to post the third best debut season for a Queensland batsman, behind Matthew Hayden and Graham Hick, by tallying 649 runs for the summer Shield.

Earlier this year, in a move the media dubbed a “surprise” selection, he was named in Australia’s One Day International squad to perform in the early 2017 New Zealand Tour.

Well, it’s no surprise to us, and we have had the privilege of chatting with Sam the day after his match with the Prime Minister’s XI about his career, future movements, hobbies, and life in general..

Cricket Play Ground

Nice Work Last Night scoring 58 with the Prime Minister’s XI. Can you tell us a little bit about the match?
“Thank you. It was an honour to be in the Prime Minister’s XI Team. It’s a great opportunity to be selected, playing against an international team like Sri Lanka last night and had guys like Lasith Malinga, who are world class bowlers giving us a great experience; to be able to stay out there for a while and score 58 runs against that calibre of opposition was good for me, as well as playing around other experienced players. We were captained by Adam Voges, from Western Australia (an experienced player for a long time), Joe Burns was there too, and a lot of other very good cricketers, so you learn a lot from them just from watching how they operate, train, and prepare for the matc

T20 cricket

What’s it like to have Michael Clarke as a coach?
“Yes, it was great, it’s always great to work and listen to what he had to say and take words of advice to test out their methods, I guess he’s a different coach as he’s succeeded at top level, and that’s the goal for every young cricketer; to succeed in Australia, and he’s done that, so obviously, what he says is coming from experience and you’ve got to listen. He’s put his new spin on things, he’s got his own ideas on how to play T20 cricket and last night worked well for me, so to listen to what he had to say was very valuable.”

How was your trip to the One Day International? Was that your first senior Australian Cap?
“We went to New Zealand, it was a late call-out for the ‘one day squad’ when Steve Smith got injured, so it was very surprising. It was a dream come true to be able to tour with Australia, I was sort of a fill in player, not sure if I would play a game as it was a 13-man squad, but fortunately I got a chance to play the first game. It was quite a surreal experience to play at Eden Park, New Zealand in front of a full crowd of NZ supporters who were quite hostile, you know? They didn’t hold back on the boundary ropes to have a word with us, but, we ended up losing the game, which was not the best, but it was great to get an opportunity to play against another international team like New Zealand.

Australian Cap

You played for the Under 19’s Australia team, right? Tell us a little bit about that.
“Yes, I was able to play against England a couple of years ago for the Aussie 19’s team, which was another honour and a stepping stone along the way. To look back now it all happened pretty fast and probably started in that tour when I was first picked for the Aussie 19’s. Before then I’ve been playing Queensland’s 19’s and 17’s, but nothing at that next level for Australia, so that started everything off, I performed well there and from then on it’s happened pretty quickly, going through the ranks and then playing for the Queensland team, and now being selected for the Brisbane Heat and the Australian One Day team as well.”

Running Play Ground

Tell us about your experience playing with the Queensland Bulls at the Matador Cup?
“I played for the Queensland Bulls in the Sheffield Shield which is a 4-day competition in Australia; they’ve also played in the Matador Cup (that’s the one day competition). Unfortunately, I was injured this year for that and didn’t get to play, but I’ve been playing the last couple of years and I’m a proud Queenslander, so to be able to play for my state and continue the wins over the last couple of years has been good. I just really enjoy playing cricket and to be able to do that full-time for Queensland is great. I know I have a lot of improving to go, but hopefully I can continue doing that for the next few years and just get better and see what happens from there.”

Can you tell us about your experience with playing T20 with the Brisbane Heat?
“Yes, it’s really exciting to be able to play T20 cricket for the Brisbane Heat. There’s always a big crowd at the ‘Gabba and this year we sold out 4 or 5 games, I think it was in a row at the ‘Gabba which was 35,000+ fans, so it’s an unbelievable atmosphere out in the middle, a real buzz playing in front of that crowd and, of course, the million or so people who watched TV as well, so a bit of pressure involved, but it does get you prepared for playing international cricket, which was a good one to be able to think back on when I make my ODI debut, thinking, well if I played in front of this many people before and in this environment, so uh, it was good practice for that, but T20 cricket is fast pace, it’s tough, there’s a lot of good players and it’s a real challenge, but I’m feeling a bit more comfortable the more games I play there and I’m able to score a few more runs the last couple of games and I think that’s helped from the Prime Minister’s XI game last night where I was able to score 58 and that T20 game I’m sort of finding what works well for me in that format and hopefully in the next few years I can play more with the Brisbane Heat and we can go a bit better, we made the semi-finals this year, so hopefully we can make the finals and see what happens next year.”

T20 cricket

Any thoughts on the season that just finished?
“It was really good. My Captain was Brendan McCullum, he’s from New Zealand and an unbelievable player, to watch him out in the middle and also having him in the nets was a great experience, he really instilled a fearless approach to our cricket and, to go out there and back himself and take risks, because you’re all good enough and don’t worry about getting out, don’t think about what might happen, just think about the positive – and that was really good for my game and we had guys like Chris Lynn in the team as well who’s an unbelievable T20 cricketer and has been a player in the tournament in the last couple of years so a lot to learn from him and having a coach like Dan Vettori from New Zealand who’s played International Cricket and go for T20 comps all around the world. Dan’s great.”

What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“The next 12 months? I don’t look too far ahead, just one game at a time and looking to really contribute to wins for QLD in the Brisbane Heat, when I get back to state level which is what I’m involved in at the moment and trying to score as many runs as possible as a Batsman, that’s my job to score as many runs as possible so that’s what I’ll do. If that means getting selected in any other Australian teams then that’s great, but I can’t really control that, all I can control is my preparation for the games for Queensland and the Brisbane Heat and try to perform as well as I can out in the middle.”

Goals

You’re a surfer, right?
“Love to spend my downtime surfing, it’s tough when you’re touring interstate or overseas and there’s not much surf and you don’t have enough spare time to go to the beach, but whenever I’m back home, I always try to get down to the Gold Coast or somewhere in Northern NSW and catch a few waves. My Dad was, and still is a surfer and got me involved with that and I love it. Yeh, it’s a great way to relax, there’s no better feeling than being out in the waves and catching a few barrels.”

See Surfer

Is that the pressure reliever?
“It’s relaxing, bit of exercise involved, but it’s relaxing and gives you a buzz, it’s a good feeling. It’s like no other. People like fishing, snorkelling and to me it’s Surfing that I get that buzz from.”

Any surfing tips for a beginner?
“Haha yeah, it’s a tough one to get started with, you have to be really persistent, there can be a few long paddles and sore arms and not much success early on if you’re not much of a surfer, but definitely if you put the work in, it gets a lot more enjoyable once you can stand up and do a few moves and it becomes easier when your body gets used to all the paddling.”

See Surfing

What technology do you most rely on? What do you use for social media browsing, work, etc?
“I’m an Apple iPhone user. I’m probably on that a little bit too much with social media, I listen to music a lot so that comes in handy whilst travelling, also, I’ve got an Apple MacBook Pro, especially on tour watching tv shows or movies on that. Plus i’m studying at University at the moment, always on my computer researching or doing assignments using Word, PowerPoint and all the programs that gets my uni assignments done. So, those two things, my phone and computer are by my side all the time.”

Can we call you ‘Haz’ instead? Would that be easier for the media to pronounce it ‘Haz-lett’ instead of ‘Heez-lett’?
“Haha yeah, it’s a common mistake, everyone always says ‘Heez-lett’ and it’s understandable that’s what it looks like, and that’s what I’d probably assume if I hadn’t seen it before, so, it’s what i’m used to now, but you know, if the word gets out there more and more that it’s ‘Haz-lett’ and people call me Haz, which my teammates do, it’s one of my nicknames, then it might be easier, but you know it’s always going to be a tough one, people are going to see the name and automatically assume it’s ‘Heezlett’ so we’ll wait and see what happens.”

TCM thanks you for being a great Ambassador and for all your efforts to date, we’re supporting you all the way!

“Appreciate the support! Happy that you guys are behind me and thanks for the Interview.”

Thanks and congratulations to Sam, we look forward to following your long and successful career.

Sam Heazlett

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