WILL Sutherland decimated NSW’s big names on Sunday to announce himself as the next big thing in Australian cricket, and it’s clear father James is giving his eldest son all the space in the world.
Rather than flying up to watch the Victorian rookie’s scintillating spell of 4-11 at North Sydney Oval, Cricket Australia’s chief executive was rolling his own arm over at a park ground in Melbourne with the youngest of the Sutherland clan, 13-year-old, Tom.
It can’t be easy being the boss’s son, especially when Will Sutherland’s decision to choose a career in cricket over the promises of AFL riches became a national news story.
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The 17-year-old all-rounder, on Sunday playing just his second game for Victoria in the midst of studies for his VCE exams, was only two when his dad took the helm at Cricket Australia.
But despite the added pressure that his surname brings, he indicated on the field it will be no burden, as he carved through the NSW batting order with supreme class.
On Monday he will be back in school, studying hard for the big exams, after a brief leave of absence from Scotch College.
When Will was a youngster, James joined him for father-son cricket at the East Malvern club in Melbourne.
Now dad is doing the same with youngest son Tom.
With Will playing for the Vics and daughter Annabel a young star for the WBBL’s Melbourne Renegades, the Sutherland family influence on Australian cricket that has already spanned the best part of two decades is only set to blossom.
Australia desperately needs an all-rounder, and while Sutherland’s time in national colours is likely years away yet, the promise is impossible to ignore.
On the batting paradise that is North Sydney Oval, Sutherland was close to unplayable as he removed former Test opener Ed Cowan, big-hitting Australian star Mitchell Starc and up-and-coming batsman Ryan Gibson one after the other before eventually bringing an end to Doug Bollinger’s career-best innings of 30.
Sutherland bowled two maidens and before the end of his sixth over, the NSW innings was over – all out for just 144.
Victorian coach Andrew McDonald would have selected Sutherland for the entire one-day cup if it wasn’t for his school commitments, but his two-match cameo could be enough to win him a Sheffield Shield debut in the not-too-distant future.
McDonald believes Sutherland is up to Shield cricket, but the question will be whether or not he’s ready.
James Sutherland seemingly played little if no part in his son’s decision to choose cricket over AFL – with the life-changing call left to Will alone to make.
But his showing on Sunday suggested it’s a huge win for Australian cricket.