How Good Is…Jason Floros?

This piece was written for Inside Sport, and was initially accepted for publication. However Floros fell from form after submission so it wasn’t published. Will hopefully see the young all-rounder back in the runs for Queensland next season.

Jason Who?

“Flo Jo” was one of four Queensland rookies to be handed a full Bulls contract in 2010, but trying to bracket the spirited young batsman in any other way is hopeless. Want proof? There’s his bulky resume: CA Centre of Excellence scholar, U19s International man of the match honours and world cup victories (to name a few). Then there’s the looks: not since Craig McDermott graced the Gabba has a red haired cricketer truly demanded our attention. Yes, Jason is a cut above the rest…we’ll soon find out what he’s really capable of.

Of course nothing’s for certain, but when you have the former Australian captain Greg Chappell forfeiting his time for you, your future can glimmer shades of green and gold. It was April 2009, an U19s 50 over match, Australia vs. India. On an unusually slow and low Perth wicket, the Indian spinners were causing the Australian top order the usual amounts of grief. At 5/115, debutant Jason Floros strode out, nervous, but mindful of the task at hand. He knocked 70 runs off 59 deliveries to place Australia in what turned out to be a winning position. “There was something special about him. You could tell that he had a rare talent…I thought that he was a player well worth investing some time and energy in,” says Chappell. That performance led to his re-selection in the U19s World Cup squad, eight months later, where he played an anchoring role in Australia’s triumph.

Floros’ success in the one day format is likely due to his inherent flair and attacking instinct … a trait Chappell says will fare him well in his journey towards the top. “I’d rather see a young player developing that way and you try and tighten them up, than someone who’s learnt to be conservative and trying to get them to free up.”

What’s his story?

Jason grew up in Canberra where his family owns an indoor sports centre. Three core skills from indoor cricket: speed, improvisation and a fearlessness of the ball, have laid the ground work for his early successes. “It’s been a huge advantage having those facilities there ready and waiting for when you want to have a hit or a bowl.” Fast forward to 2009 following a spin bowling session at the Centre of Excellence, Jason was called into Bulls coach, Trevor Barsby’s office. “I walked in and he goes ‘we’d like to offer you a rookie contract.’” So Jason left home to play for QLD. What followed was an eventful 18 months. In just his third game of grade cricket for Brisbane club Wynnum-Manly, Floros copped a seething bumper that broke his jaw in two places. “I didn’t see it and I just cringed and it got under my grill.” He recovered strong, however. That season he scored 354 runs at 59 in the U19s domestic comp, earning him Player of the Series (an award previously won by the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh and Ian Healy). Now too old for U19s selection, Jason has shifted his attention to playing with the big boys at first class level. He’s already made his debut (vs. Tassie at the Gabba) however he ruffled few feathers. Chappell knows why this is and cites the reason as Jason’s biggest hurdle. “He’s going to have to tighten his technique up, look to hit the ball straighter early in the innings…as you go up the ladder…you soon learn that your decision making skills are the most important.”

Who’s he like?

The family indoor sports centre has hosted some special talent over the years, including a young Michael Bevan. Jason’s left-handed, seemingly effortless batting style can be likened to the classy middle order batsman, but Jason says he feels more at home at first drop. Others have suggested his ability to work the ball around reminds them of a mature Michael Clarke. Greg Chappell, on the other hand, shuns at the idea of comparing any youngster to an accomplished cricketer. “I think that [comparing him to former players] is a bit unfair.” He says that by likening facets of a player’s ability, you run the risk of laying out pathways, which can be unnecessarily distracting. “He reminds me of an amalgam of players … he’s got shots that nobody else has got.”

By Keiran Deck

What do they say?

“He’s quite quick across the ground, possesses a good strong arm, has a high rate of hitting the stumps. His batting is quite free flowing, he backs himself – is an aggressive player. His off spin bowling, well that’s still coming along.”  – Trevor Barsby, former QLD Bulls head coach

“He’s got the talent, there’s no doubt. That’s not an issue. Like a lot of young players who have got this far on that talent, that talent is not going to be enough on its own to take him to the top level. So it’s really important that he develops his work ethic and understanding of what it is that works when it works and why it hasn’t when it doesn’t work.” – Greg Chappell, former test captain.

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