Tipperary hurling captain Brendan Maher admits facing some of cricket’s fastest bowlers has been a daunting experience.
Maher is in Australia training with Adelaide Strikers of the prestigious Big Bash League.
And part of his initiation in the game has been trying to get bat to ball as the pace men send deliveries his way at up to 140km/h.
The 27-year-old admits he knew next to nothing about cricket before he jetted out late last week.
“I couldn’t believe the pace they were bowling at,” he said.
“It was just unbelievable, but it’s what I’m going to have to deal with.
“At first, I actually stood behind the wicket and there are 22 yards between wickets, which seems like a big distance.
“But when the ball is coming at 100, 120, 130km/h, they tell you there’s just 0.3 of a second to react.”
Maher is in Australia for a week as part of a swap-deal sponsored by long-time All-Ireland Club Championship backers AIB.
AIB has commissioned The Toughest Trade 2; a cutting-edge documentary film as part of its #TheToughest campaign.
Last year’s film featured Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrrell, retired Armagh star Aaron Kernan, former England soccer international David Bentley and baseball great Brian Schneider.
The 2010 Hurler of the Year wasn’t naive enough to think he’d be spraying balls from the quick bowlers around the oval, however.
“That’s going to be a big challenge; keeping control of the bat and keeping it close to my body,” said the primary teacher, who is taking unpaid leave to travel to Australia.
“Hurling is so open and you use your shoulders so the natural reaction for me will be just to let fly.
“You have to keep the bat close to your body and let the ball come to you rather than stepping out and leaving yourself open.
“Your first stance is very important to allow you to make those subtle changes.
“That’s something I’m going to have to try and work on.”
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