Pace bowler’s first NZ call-up

Sixteen-year-old Queenstown pace bowler Mason Clarke will get his first taste of international cricket next month.

He’s the youngest in the 15-man squad and one of only two South Islanders selected to represent New Zealand at the under-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

He’d been in the 24-strong preliminary training squad, after being a non-travelling reserve at a qualifying tournament in Darwin, Australia, in June.

Receiving the call-up was ‘‘a pretty surreal feeling, really, my hands were shaking’’, Mason says.

He attended six training camps at Lincoln over winter, before opening the bowling for Otago at the recent U19 tournament.

‘‘I was just trying to improve when I went to the camps, I wasn’t trying to think too much about making that team.’’

Mason, who’ll be head boy at Wakatipu High next year, calls himself a right-arm outswing bowler.

The U19 world cup had originally been scheduled in Sri Lanka, how ever it lost its hosting rights last month due to cricket politics.

Mason says he was ‘‘pretty happy’’ when he heard of the venue change.

‘‘Typically South Africa has more pace-friendly bowling conditions than Sri Lanka.’’

NZ will be in a pool with Nepal, whom they play first in East London on January 21, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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