Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

Tim Ward’s journey into professional cricket series has been anything but linear.

Getting praise from Australian Test captain Tim Paine on Saturday is far from the suburbs of Western Sydney, where Ward traded his business just two years ago.

The 23-year-old spent years fighting away at club level, neglected by New South Wales’ State Pathway, before the call finally came.

On Friday, the rookie opening shooter blew a century for Tasmania in just his second Sheffield Shield game against Queensland.

Ward brought up the milestone by crushing stalwart Michael Neser to a limit on the side, greeted with fierce applause from his teammates.

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To those who watched, it looked like an innings prepared by someone accustomed to first-class play.

However, those close to Ward know that his journey to the top has not been straightforward at all.

In a speech to the media after games Thursday, Ward played down his performance.

“It has not really sunk in yet, and we still have a job to do tomorrow [on Friday],” he said.

“I was so lucky to just get through it and make money later on a flat.”

Get up through crowds

Ward knocked on the door to no avail in Sydney and floated seven centuries off for the club side Parramatta in Sydney’s Premier Cricket competition, the feeding ground to the next level.

Despite his accomplishments, Ward missed every road in New South Wales without being selected in either the Blues’ under-17s or under-19s tournament team.

When the opportunity finally arose to put on the Blues jersey, Ward did not disappoint half a century on the Second XI Debut before being selected to line up against a touring English side.

It was there that Ward showed glimpses of his ability in the longer form of the game.

He showed up against an English bowling lineup, including a pair of opening bowlers Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton, who have both played at test level.

Still, there was no permanence for Ward in the form of a contract until a surprising call from then-Tasmanian head coach Jeff Vaughan.

Tim Paine is sitting on a chair
Tim Paine says Tasmanian batsman Tim Ward has “a great character”.(

Getty Images: Steve Bell

)

“I got the opportunity from Jeff Vaughan, he called me and said, ‘how about coming down to play for us’ or at least look at a rookie contract [for Tasmania], “Said Ward.

Ward has spent a year and a half in the Tasmania squad and now finally gets the opportunity for the Tigers’ game 11 – a feat he attributes to strong excursions for the Premier Cricket side, the University of Tasmania.

It was on the club side of the University of Tasmania where Ward first had the opportunity to line up with test skipper Tim Paine.

Speaking to ABC on Saturday, Paine was full of praise for Ward.

“He has a great character and temperament and a huge future,” he said.

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