ERIC Streat could be Gympie's Matthew Hayden.
The left-handed opening batsman never made a representative side as a junior, but has advanced through the ranks as a senior to wear the green and gold.
Streat may have left his run a bit later than Hayden, but his selection for the Australian over-60 side to tour New Zealand early next year is still an impressive achievement.
While the 59-year-old wasn't eligible for the over-60 National Championships last month, he benefited from the decision of Australian selectors to loosen the qualifying criteria.
"I THOUGHT the side was only going to be picked from the national titles, but they decided that people turning 60 in 2015 would also be eligible," Streat said.
"I put together a few details and nominated for a spot in the squad not really expecting to get in, so it was a bit of a shock when I got the email from selectors.
"Ross Chapman, who's been heavily involved in seniors' cricket in Gympie, was one of the selectors so that might've worked in my favour as we've played together a lot.
"They picked an Australian squad of 18, probably because it's such a full-on schedule with players over 60 there's likely to be a few more injuries than usual."
Streat will join the national squad in Queenstown on January 28, before their first game against Millbrook the next day.
They will play 10 more matches against club and district sides all over the country during the three-week tour, as well as three one-day internationals against the New Zealand over-60 team on February 4 in Christchurch, February 8 in Wellington and February 20 in Auckland.
There will be plenty of opportunity for sight-seeing while as well, including the Franz Josef Glacier, Routeburn Track, Rotorua Geysers and Mount Maunganui.
"I've never been to New Zealand before, so I'm really looking forward to the tour," Streat said.
"This is by far the highest level I've achieved in the game, as I've never played much representative cricket apart from a bit when I was down in Victoria."
Streat started his career as a 15- year-old in Murgon, and spent 18 years in Victoria before moving to Gympie in 2004.
He has played for Valleys in the local competition ever since, and currently opens the batting for the A-grade side.
While his batting ability was the main attraction for Australian selectors, Streat also keeps wicket and bowls handy medium pace, having opened the bowling for the Gympie over-40 team in their last match.
He will continue to train and play as much as he can in the lead-up to the national tour, with a Gympie over-40 match against the Queensland Cricketers Club on January 11 a key part of his preparations.
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