After receiving the highest honour possible for a player playing their trade in a country area, Jordan Moran said more than five years of hard work made it all possible.
The leading Dubbo batsman was named in the Australian Country squad on Wednesday night after starring for his state at the Australian Country Cricket Championships.
Moran finished the second-leading run-scorer overall and his 146 against South Australia was the highest total of the tournament.
His stellar 10 days at Wollongong was capped off on Wednesday night when he was named as an opening batsman in the national Country side.
“I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet,” he said.
“The baggy is sitting on top of my bag in my backpack and every few minutes you unzip it and check it’s still there.
“But no words can describe it. I’ve known people who have made the team and now I’m one of them.”
The selection goes with the NSW Country Championship crown he won with Western Zone late last year.
“It’s just this whole season, everything seems to have fallen into place. It’s all unreal,” he said, before saying it’s been a long road to the top.
“It’s probably been six or seven years of really hard work to get into the NSW side and once I got in there last season I knew the hard work had only just begun.
“It comes down to more of a personal preparation too.”
After making two half centuries for his state during his first NSW Country campaign last season, Moran said he travelled to Wollongong this year knowing he could compete at the highest level.
He started well, making 61 against Western Australia and while the 146 was the undoubted highlighted, Moran also made 43 on the final day of competition to finish with 339 runs overall.
“I definitely felt more comfortable in my role and after making a couple of fifties last year I felt capable at that level but I never expected to get a baggy green,” he said.
To make the selection even sweeter, this Australian Country may actually play matches this year, as opposed to previous seasons when it was just a merit side.
While not yet confirmed, Moran stated the talk on Wednesday night was the Australian Country squad may play the state sides during the Matador Cup pre-season at Brisbane.
“That would be very special,” he said, before speaking about what made Championships campaign so special.
“Again, you can’t really describe it. It’s a very professional set-up ‘Cooky’ (coach Jeff Cook) has got going and after you play you have a debrief for an hour or so and then you pull apart the team you’re playing next and look at players to target.
“It takes your cricket to a whole new level and a level you never dreamed of.”
Moran will miss this weekend’s Whitney Cup action to recover after playing 10 straight matches.