Ethan McShanag is on the verge of becoming Keilor Park Cricket Club’s star batsman.
McShanag is only 17 yet already considered one of the key planks to the Devils’ top order.
The Airport West resident is aware of the important role he plays as an opening batsman.
He is clearly up for the challenge, having made 232 runs at an average of 46 across the opening four rounds in Victorian Turf Cricket Association north-west division, including two scores in the 80s in the past two matches.
“As an opener, it comes with a bit of pressure,” McShanag said. “Hopefully, I can keep up the good form, go out there and just bat with some intent and play how I usually play.”
McShanag’s rise to prominence at Keilor Park is even more impressive considering the duress he has to play under on some occasions.
The year 11 student from St Bernard’s College has long suffered from migraines, which can be a major impediment in day-to-day life and even more so when facing a fast bowler charging in and producing some chin music.
McShanag gets frustrated by having to move down the batting order to avoid going out to the middle when a migraine strikes. Against
St Albans recently, a migraine forced him to bat at No.6.
McShanag showed his quality that day by making 82 not out, but he still felt as though he had let the team down by not being able to open.
“It’s pretty hard because, I feel a lot is relied upon myself as an opener,” he said.
“Although I do have that faith in the team, I think I can be up there with the top five batsmen in the competition, so I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on myself and I don’t want to
be batting down the order – I want to be opening.
“But if I’m suffering from that illness, it doesn’t really help me much.”
McShanag says he will not risk batting when a migraine hits.
He says the migraines mainly affect his sight – a dangerous situation when a cricket ball is coming in your direction at speed.
“It’s kind of affected my cricket since I started when I was eight years old,” he said.
“I mainly get double vision, so I see two of everything when I’m suffering from it, and in my peripherals I just can’t see anything. I woke up with it [before the St Albans game]. I drank heaps of water to get through the heat and do everything I could to help my team out.
“It’s pretty dangerous … so I try to do what’s best for the team.”
McShanag returned to Keilor Park this summer after a brief stint with Greenvale Kangaroos in Premier Cricket.
He played thirds and fourths with the Kangaroos, but concedes he was not ready to make the full commitment to playing in the higher grade, particularly in the midst of his VCE years.
McShanag has vowed to return to Premier Cricket, but he wants to lead Keilor Park to glory before then.
“I played all my juniors at Keilor Park, so I’m absolutely ecstatic to be back, especially with the bunch of blokes that I’m playing with,” he said.
“They’re all ripper blokes and amazing cricketers as well. The camaraderie is pretty strong – I don’t think I’ve played in a team like this ever.
“I feel like a premiership would be a huge achievement for myself and Keilor Park before I go back to play Premier.”