By Andrew Young
Fast bowling South Sudanese refugee Akon Mawien is set to make his first XI debut for Melbourne University in his first match for the club this Saturday against Dandenong.
Having put together an irresistible body of work throughout a lengthy pre-season, there was little doubt that Mawien would be picked to play in the first grade, despite not having played Premier cricket before.
The twenty-two-year-old is well equipped with all the tools to succeed as a fast bowler and coach Antony Keely is excited to see him in action. “He is blessed with raw pace and bounce, but we have been particularly impressed with his understanding of the game,” Keely said. “He is a mightily impressive young man, whose humility and dedication will hold him in good stead for a long career at Uni.”
Mawien joined the squad to train at the latter end of the 2018/19 season, on the recommendation of fellow Sunshine Heights CC products, Max and Peter Hatzoglou. There was no doubt in Peter’s mind that Uni and premier cricket was where he should be playing his cricket. “Once he grew a bit at age 15 or 16 he started to dominate,” Peter said. “I remember crying when he hit me in the nets- he’s seriously quick.”
It was at Sunshine Heights where the paceman started to make a name for himself, earning himself the mantle as “Athlete of the Year” at the Brimbank Sports Awards in his first year at the club. In the seasons that followed, he continued to terrorise batsmen, culminating in an impressive year last year, where he claimed 29 wickets at an average of 15.3.
Having arrived in Australia as a refugee, Mawien’s journey from never having played cricket, to first XI debutant is one of which he, Sunshine Heights and Melbourne University Cricket Club can all be extremely proud.
Mawien will wear MUCC cap 967 as he and the First XI begin their 2019/20 campaign this Saturday 5th October at Shepley Oval in Dandenong. We all wish him the best and can’t wait to see his skills on show!