Young Silk's batting skills secure him spot on Ashes squad
TASMANIAN opening batsman Jordan Silk knows all about being thrown into the deep end, and excelling.
Silk was just 16 when he made his first grade debut for Penrith against Blacktown, in 2009, and became the youngest Sydney first grader to score a hundred on debut.
Last summer, as a Tasmanian Tigers rookie, he did it again.
The 21-year-old scored two centuries in his first three Sheffield Shield games, including a patient 108 off 358 in the final in Hobart against a quality Queensland pace attack.
That effort has seen him selected in the Australia A squad to travel to England as part of the Ashes tour from June through to September.
"I think I've learnt to just play tough over the past few years, and put a high value on my wicket," he said.
"I'll put my life on it if I get an opportunity to play for Australia A."
Silk followed in the footsteps of Australian test players Jackson Bird and Ed Cowan who also excelled for Tasmania after being plucked from Sydney's grade competition.
He put the success down to the friendly environment, and also outgoing coach Tim Coyle who led the Tigers to three Shield titles in his eight years at the helm.
"I think it's because we have such a great culture down here - it's just like playing for Penrith again where everyone's mates with each other," Silk said.
"Tim Coyle has also been excellent for us - one of the greatest coaches Tasmania has ever known."
Silk backed new coach Dan Marsh to continue that success, and also paid tribute to former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting who was named Sheffield Shield player of the year last season.
While Silk has caught the eye of the national selectors, he said he was surprised some of his teammates, particularly Luke Butterworth and Mark Cosgrove, had not had an opportunity at the highest level.
He also said he expected fellow Tasmanian players Alex Doolan (Australia A), and James Faulkner (Champions Trophy and Ashes squad) to perform well in England, describing Faulkner as "the ultimate competitor".
As for his own outstanding form, Silk wasn't getting ahead of himself after just a few Shield games, pointing out he still had plenty of time on his side.
And the promising top-order talent said he expected Australia's strong pace attack would provide England with a few surprises in the five-Test Ashes series.