TAKING the new ball and steaming in to bowl - it is something that Callee Black loves doing and such is the talent of the 14-year-old, it has seen her join an exclusive club that includes Australian superstar Ellyse Perry.
Bathurst cricketer Black has been named as one of 12 players aged under 19 from across the state to receive a Basil Sellers Scholarship for season 2021-22.
It means she follows in the footsteps of Australian players such as Perry, Patrick Cummins, Ashleigh Gardner, Josh Hazlewood, Alyssa Healy, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc in becoming a scholar.
While it is only "a big dream" of Black at the moment to one day represent her country, that she has been awarded a scholarship is an indication of her huge potential.
The left-arm quick, who is also a more than handy with the bat, caught the eye of state coaches via her performances at the Under 15 National Championships.
She has also tested herself in higher level age competitions and excelled. In season 2020-21 playing in the under 18 Brewer Shield for Penrith Cricket Club, Black scored 237 runs at 33.9 and took 17 wickets at 7.1.
Her highlights included taking 6-11 off 10 overs with the ball and belting 104 off 85 deliveries with the bat.
Still, Black had never even considered she would be rated as one of the most promising under 19 cricketers in the state and be awarded a Basil Sellers Scholarship.
"I got an email and it said congratulations. I was sitting with my sister and we read it together," she said. "I was excited and very proud really. I wasn't expecting it all. It's definitely motivation."
As for what it is like to join a list which features some of those players she idolises, Black said: "There are just no words. It's a pretty good list to make."
As part of the scholarship program, Black and her family will be given support with expenses such as education and travel.
She also gets a two-year Team Kookaburra equipment sponsorship, Black saying: "That was a first, yeah it kind of makes me feel professional."
This coming summer Black once again plans to play for Penrith Cricket Club, where she was named female cricket of the year for both 2019-20 and 2020-21.
She will also play club cricket in Bathurst and will be part of an under 16s Central West girls side which will compete in the region's under 14s competition.
Black said it has been a "full energy" approach to prepare.
"I've done heaps, like every second day I've been down at the nets or going for a run," she said.
"I've been doing plenty of work on my bowling, we're just trying to perfect some of my balls. I've been working on everything, I've also been working on my batting too.
"As long as I'm improving my game and just growing as a person as well, that's all I'm worried about really."
Founder and philanthropist Basil Sellers said Black and her fellow scholars have a great opportunity to pursue their dream of becoming elite cricketers.
"It's been a challenging 18 months for the state's best emerging cricketers but it has also been a character-building time for these recipients in their pursuit to represent their state and country at the highest level," Sellers said.
"The perfect cricketing all-rounder is not just someone who performs in the middle but understand the importance of personal development away from the sport arena through education.
"By their actions, they are revered as role models and leaders amongst their peers, while conducting themselves in a manner which is in keeping with the spirit of our great game.
"I look forward to following with keen interest the progress of this year's recipients and encourage all to seize upon the support and opportunities they have been afforded as they look to follow in the footpaths of previous scholarship holders who have gone on to not only represent, but captain Australia."
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