Steve Paulsen, with his son Oliver, has won a Heat contract for the Big Bash cricket league.
Steve Paulsen, with his son Oliver, has won a Heat contract for the Big Bash cricket league. Claudia Baxter

Paulsen cracks T20 Big Bash

'BETTER late than never' should be the catch phrase of Bundamba cricketer Steve Paulsen after he finally cracked cricket's "big time".

Paulsen has secured the final roster position for the Brisbane Heat in this year's T20 Big Bash.

At the ripe old age of 30, Paulsen rightly believed his chance at higher honours had passed him by until a change of leadership this year in Queensland cricket re-opened the door.

With Darren Lehmann taking over as Queensland head coach and Trevor Hohns leading selection, Paulsen said older players suddenly felt the selection door was again ajar.

"I did think my time had passed over the last few years," he said.

"Cricket Australia has a policy that means you can't really get a gig with a second 11 unless you are under the age of 23.

"It makes it hard for you to show if you are any good anymore once you are over that age.

"But a different set of eyes this year has brought everyone back into contention."

His challenge now is to balance his already busy life with the responsibilities of a first-class cricketer.

"At my age the sport is only going to be there for a couple of years and I have a wife and two little kids," he said.

"It's a bit of a juggling act to keep everyone happy but it's also about fulfilling a dream about playing for your state.

"I'm trying not to get too hung up on any of it.

"I go to training in the morning or get home from a tour and I go to work the next day so it brings you back to earth pretty quick."

If the key to success is taking your chances, then the talented left-hander plans to make the most of his unlikely opportunity.

After five years piling on the runs for Wests in the Brisbane grade competition, Paulsen found his way back into the Queensland one-day side earlier this year before also making his debut in the all-conquering Queensland Shield team.

Paulsen is hoping he gets the chance to show he belongs on the big stage of T20 cricket.

"I'd love to get a few runs but the first thing is just to get in the 11 then I'll need to perform," he said. "It's such a great squad . . . I'm going to treat it as a learning curve and get as much information as I can while I'm there."

If learning is what he's after, then the father-of two has now hit the jackpot.

Paulsen will be picking the brains of Kiwi internationals Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori and with Matthew Hayden strapping on the pads again, the Ipswich left-hander has a ready-made mentor on tap.

If you think he might be overawed in such elite company, then think again. This late bloomer plans to make the most of an unexpected ride.

 

LATE BLOOMER

Paulsen has played three one-day games for Queensland this season after making his debut in 2005.

He has played two Shield games this season, scoring 90 not out against WA.

He will line up for the Heat in the T20 Big Bash after scoring 100 off 53 balls last weekend for the QAS.



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