CLAIMING 213 wickets in six seasons of Victorian Premier Cricket was not enough to earn Michael Beer a senior game for the Bushrangers. But it has been enough for the left-arm orthodox spinner to earn a debut against them.
The 26-year-old's recruitment by Western Australia during the winter was surprising, as his interstate exposure was limited to about a dozen second XI or Futures Leagues matches for Victoria. Beer's pre-season training and practice-match performances have convinced Warriors coach Mickey Arthur to include him in their team for their opening Ryobi One-Day Cup match against the Bushrangers in Perth tomorrow.
''He's been fantastic … superb in everything he's done,'' Arthur said. ''He's trained well, he's lost five kilos, worked hard on his fielding, worked hard on his batting. And every time he bowls he really impresses me. I can't wait to see him in action.
''He's got that little bit of hard-nosed edge about him that I think you need to be successful.''
The former Malvern junior's Premier Cricket form was recognised with an open invitation to train with the state squad for the past three seasons but, ultimately, his path was blocked by rival spinners Bryce McGain and Jon Holland.
''They were in the way, to a degree, but they're both very good cricketers,'' Beer said. ''They're looked upon as Victoria's one and two, so [moving was logical].''
Beer believed his ''real-world'' experience, juggling playing and training commitments with studying physical education and working at Puma, would ensure he fully appreciated his belated shot at being a full-time cricketer.
''[Strength and conditioning coach] Matty Inness and the fitness team have been very good with me,'' he said. ''I had a little bit [of weight] to lose, but training full-time [has made the difference]. I was studying, playing cricket and working part-time, so being able to concentrate on it full-time has been the key.
''Being a spinner I think you do mature later … and I've been lucky with the people I played with at St Kilda and being around the Victorian squad environment.''
Beer's selection in the Sheffield Shield has been boosted by Arthur's declaration the Warriors would no longer seek to rely on part-time spinners when playing at home and would instead permanently use a specialist at the WACA.
''For 'Healso' [Aaron Heal] and me it is very heartening,'' Beer said.