All Blacks star Jordie Barrett reveals what would lure him into a cross-code switch back to cricket
The 23-year-old has history as prominent cricketer, having played the sport as an age-grade star for domestic side Central Districts before opting to focus solely on rugby in 2016.
When questioned by The Hits Breakfast on Friday about what it would take for Barrett to return to the crease, the 17-cap All Black pictured two scenarios in which he would ditch the boots in favour of the bat and ball.
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“One reason [could be] I play really, really poor at rugby and I might have a chance to go back [to cricket],” Barrett said.
“Or maybe even just a certain injury where I can’t play footy but it allows me to play cricket, so that’s an opportunity.”
Barrett – who captained Central Districts’ U19 side, was placed on standby for New Zealand’s U19 World Cup squad and, at the age of 18, was selected as 12th man for Central Districts’ premier team, the Stags – had a strong showing in the T20 Black Clash charity cricket fixture between past and present cricket and rugby stars in Napier last month.
In just the fifth delivery of the match, Barrett dismissed 111-test former Black Caps skipper Stephen Fleming with a slow yorker before dismissing ex-international batsman Luke Ronchi in his next over to leave Team Cricket flailing at 6-2.
Despite his cricketing credentials, Barrett explained that he was forced to give the sport up after attracting the attention of Canterbury selectors following his move to Christchurch four years ago.
“I was at university and I finished the summer of cricket and came into winter and played rugby, and then I got selected for Canterbury and never had the chance to go back,” he said.
“But it was just one of those things, just timing, and I never went back to cricket in the summer.”
That season, Barrett shone for the New Zealand U20 side at the Oceania and World Championships in Australia and England before going on to play 12 times for Canterbury in their title-winning Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
Four months later, the then-20-year-old made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in Tokyo against the Sunwolves before going on to earn selection for the All Blacks ahead of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour.
With his rugby career in full swing, Barrett brushed off suggestions of a potential move back to cricket, admitting he wouldn’t be comfortable facing fast bowlers as a batsman.
“As soon as that ball is above 120km I’d be ducking and diving out of the way,” he said.
“So I’m all good and well bowling until I’ve got to get down the other end and face some fast bowlers. So I’m scared of it.”
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