IT’S been a long 1309-day wait.
But Waratahs will have little time to ease their way into the 2013-14 season when they make their Orange District Cricket Association first grade comeback today against Cavaliers.
Helping the returning Tahs tackle arguably the competition’s toughest outfit will be 25-year-old Rippan Shulka.
A regular with Dubbo RSL Colts’ Kelly Cup side in the Dubbo District Cricket Association last season, Shulka admits the two-hour commute up the Mitchell Highway was beginning to take its toll and when Waratahs came knocking, he couldn’t refuse.
“It was very enjoyable,” Shulka said of his time in Dubbo.
“I made a lot of friends but it became too difficult to go to Dubbo every Saturday. The weather is good up there all year round, great batting weather.”
Waratahs’ last game of first grade cricket was a 85-run minor semi-final defeat at the hands of Orange City on March 13, 2010.
Run-machine Ray Doolan was Tahs’ skipper that season.
He was also Orange District Cricket Association player of the year in 2009-10.
Since then a lot has changed and Waratahs’ return this summer, some three-and-a-half years on, will be a baptism of fire.
There’s no more ruthless side in the ODCA than Cavaliers, and already this season Cavs’ skipper Richie Venner has implored his side to again find that killer instinct when it has opposing teams on the verge of crumbling.
But such remarks haven’t deterred Shulka, nor will they dent Waratahs’ comeback bid.
A Mumbai native, Shulka said he was looking forward to being handed the ball by Waratahs’ skipper Adam Brakenridge and turning up the heat on a few of Cavaliers’ more experienced batsmen.
“I’m not sure on the expectations yet but I’m sure if given the opportunity I’ll be able to provide some fast bowling,” he said.
“I haven’t played any of the teams in Orange before, so it’s difficult to know how I’ll perform.
“Where I’m from in India, the cricket was quite competitive. Cricket is a game about team work and if I go out there and perform my best batting and bowling and it helps the team then that’ll be positive.”
Waratahs will take on Cavaliers today at 1pm at Riawena Oval.