WHILE most other cricketers were enjoying their off-season, Weston Creek Molonglo all-rounder Blake Dean was chipping away in the nets every week.
The Bathurst native and former ACT Comets talent has a Cricket ACT player of the year medal to his name, but he sent shockwaves around the competition last season when he decided to play left-handed.
He did it in a bid to change the cricketing landscape and prove it's possible to play as an ambidextrous cricketer - now he's back in first grade doing just that.
He capped off his first weekend with a batting average of 36 - alternating between left and right-handed, and took four wickets - two as a leg-spinner, and two as a left-arm orthodox bowler.
Dean's efforts helped Weston Creek Molonglo knock over Queanbeyan by 19 runs at Stirling Oval on Sunday to secure a place in the Cricket ACT Regional Twenty20 Cup finals.
His team-mates included his older brother Jono, like him a player who once padded up for Bathurst’s Rugby Union Cricket Club.
He impressed over the weekend as well with his typically aggressive big hitting. He clubbed 71 off 31 deliveries against Eastlake and 61 off 32 against Queanbeyan.
While Blake Dean is desperate to help his side defend their crown, the former Sydney Thunder player is just getting started.
“Ultimately, I'd love to get back into a Big Bash squad, but that's probably a fair way down the track,” Dean said.
“I'm not looking at it for the longer game, I'm looking at it for the shorter game, so finding a way to play as much T20 cricket as I can moving forward after this year.
“This year is still a big learning curve. It's only year number two doing it, so in the lifetime of a cricketer, I'm a bloody 12-year-old. It's not like I've been doing it forever.
“I'll learn again this year, and next year that's when I'll try and play as much T20 cricket as I can.”
Dean is considering turning himself into a Twenty20 gun for hire next season and travelling to Sydney and Melbourne to play the shorter format.
He has set himself the goal of getting back into the Comets set-up by the end of the season and then launching back into ACT colours by next year as an ambidextrous cricketer.
“But again I've got this full season ahead of me, I'm trying to think not too far down the track because it just takes another rotator cuff tear and the season is done again,” Dean said.
“Getting back around those Comets guys again will be the goal, push my way into a Comets Twenty20 team and next year try to make inroads in those better competitions.”
Weston will face ANU in the semi-finals.