New Delhi :
Cricket Australia on Sunday named seven-year-old leg-spinner Archie Schiller as the new team co-captain alongside regular skipper Tim Paine for the Boxing Day Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Barossa Valley boy, who turned 7 on Saturday, will toss the coin and join hosts for the national anthem in the Boxing Day test. The leggie, who want to get Virat Kohli’s wicket, is all set to partner Nathan Lyon in the third Test starting Wednesday. Australian national cricket team head coach Justin Langer informed Schiller about his inclusion in the extended squad via a phone call. During their conversation, Schiller sounded impressively confident when he told Langer that he will get Indian skipper Virat Kohli out at the MCG.
Archie Schiller, who has endured 13 heart operations and spent half of his life in hospital after being diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital disease, had the dream of captaining the Australian cricket team. Make a Wish Australia and Cricket Australia, worked together to make Archie’s cricket dreams come true.
Archie and his three-year-old brother Harry were invited into the cockpit of the flight to Melbourne he was travelling in. The flight attendants, pilot and the staffers of Make a Wish Australia and Cricket Australia cheered and greeted the new Australia skipper with a huge round of applause.
When Archie was just three months old, it came to light that he had faulty heart valves. Weeks after his birth he underwent an urgent surgery lasting more than seven hours in Melbourne. And six months later, he underwent a second surgery before he went under the knife again in last December.
"We were told that it could go either way. We've learned to take nothing for granted and to cherish every day we have with him," Schiller's mother Sarah recalled.
Paine said the decision to make Archie the co-captain was their way of fulfilling his long-cherished dream. "Sometimes we live a life, it's very good, but you can be consumed in your own life at times, so to have someone like that around is actually really inspiring for our group. It's great to have him around and we look forward to his debut on Boxing Day," Paine said.
Both Australia and India are 1-1 in the four-match series. The third Test of the series will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Boxing Day, December 26. Certainly, Archie's inclusion in the team will definitely make the dressing room environment positive for the already charged up hosts.
(With agency inputs)