As his teammates and the handful of fans collectively took to the terraces, Wyllie slowly made his way to batting partner Matt Kelly and finally, almost reluctantly, raised his bat.
“He [Wyllie] said ‘tax accountants don’t celebrate when they file their taxes so I shouldn’t celebrate scoring a hundred’, laughed WA captain Sam Whiteman, who spoke to ESPNcricinfo after the game . “He loves to hit and he’s an impressive young man. He feels like he’s 28.”
While Wyllie’s reserved celebration brought joy to his teammates, it underscores his maturity beyond his years and should come in handy as he is seen as Australia’s next big hitter. He dominated Australia’s batting at the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year and was named in the tournament’s Most Valuable Team.
“A lot of guys blame me for not taking the helmet off, but I just don’t like the attention it’s getting,” Wyllie told reporters in Perth on Friday.
“My old boy has drilled me when you’ve got a hundred that the job isn’t done. So I’ve never been a big fan of the chase…because I’m just trying to put the team in a good position. “
His masterclass of 104 balls from 204 saved WA from a precarious 100 for 6 as the No. 5 struck calmly with the tail to take his team to 258 and an invaluable 78 first-inning lead in the low-scoring contest .
Having come through the ranks as an opener, the tall Wyllie – who stands over six feet tall – is already an intimidating figure in the crease, but his stick is built on compact, long-range defense. He may be a throwback to a calmer time, though he can shift gears when needed. As the more experienced hitters were seam-defeated and bounced through tricky WACA pitch, Wyllie played straight and produced several eye-catching drives on the floor.
“Test cricket is the goal and I think that’s the pinnacle in cricket,” he said. “I always liked the stick for a long period of time.”
So it’s no surprise to learn who he modeled his game on.
“I idolized Rahul Dravid growing up,” Wyllie said. “He values his wicket more than anyone. Growing up I kind of modeled my game on him when it comes to valuing his wicket and stick for long stretches. Kane Williamson is another one I try to learn a lot.”
Wyllie, who grew up in the regional town of Mandurah less than an hour from Perth, has long devoted herself seriously to cricket after shying away from playing other sports competitively. It led to ‘burnout’ three years ago but Wyllie has found a better balance as he begins his professional career and enjoys playing golf and watching TV when he’s not carefully honing his game .
But his life has already started to change and become busier, as he soon realized when he received around 500 messages from friends and family after his Shield exploits.
Surrounded by a wealth of experience, including mentor Shaun Marsh, Wyllie received some particularly sound advice for dealing with his rising stardom.
“I spoke to a few of the senior guys…they got off social media. I didn’t get to that stage,” he said.
But you think Wyllie will handle keyboard warriors the same way he blunts exasperated bowlers.
“I don’t look at comments on social media because it’s just white noise and it doesn’t matter much,” he said. “I tend to stay out of the spotlight…I love punching.”
Tristan Lavalette is a Perth-based journalist
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