TWENTY-two-year-old South Coast product Macalister Wright has taken out one of Tasmanian cricket's highest honours.
Without the usual Ricky Ponting Medal fanfare due to COVID-19 restrictions, an "over the moon" Wright learned he had won the Jamie Cox Young Player of the Year award via a phonecall while in isolation at his brother's house in Geelong.
I feel I've always worked on both my batting as well as my bowling, and I've enjoyed batting up the order.Jamie Cox Young Player of the Year award winner Mac Wright
"It's nice to get the accolades now and then, because there is a lot of hard work put in that can go unnoticed," he said.
Wright, who made his Sheffield Shield debut and his hit his first List A century last season, said he is just one of many talented young cricketers vying for the award.
"It's unbelievable to be playing with guys you grew up watching on TV for years. You learn so much," he said.
"There's a really good feel around the group, and there's people I can do things away from the pitch with as well."
After spending last year's northern summer playing in Ireland, Wright said having to adjust to the slower wickets and colder conditions prepared him for a stand-out summer in Australia.
While he says he "really struggled" with both bat and ball in Ireland, Wright said coaching young kids taught him a lot about his own game.
Coach Adam Griffith said Wright's "ability to hit the ball cleanly and play good cricket shots has highlighted what he is capable of", and said his season "was a great example to all players about performance demanding selection and staying ready for your opportunity when it comes".
Wright admits he has struggled with the ball after losing rhythm and confidence, he stamped his name on the game last season with his promotion to the top of the batting order in the shorter format.
"I feel I've always worked on both my batting as well as my bowling, and I've enjoyed batting up the order. I'm really enjoying focusing on my batting," he said.
His first class debut against Queensland in November saw him come up against 204cm quick Billy Stanlake, and while the Tigers lost by ten wickets, Wright said he was just trying to survive against a bowler he rates as the hardest he's ever faced.
"He's not a lot of fun. You worry about being hit in the face every ball," he said.
Hard-hitting team mate Matthew Wade has been a mentor to Wright, who rates "Wadey" as one of the best hitters in the game.
"He just believes he can score at will off any bowler. He is just awful to bowl to in the nets. Getting to bat with him was just awesome," he said.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has allowed Wright a much-needed break after four years in Tasmania, and has taken to competitive table tennis with his brother to keep his reflexes sharp.
"We've been giving that a thrashing," he said.
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