The son of a former Australian cricketer, Ben Laughlin, grew up playing cricket in his backyard in Brisbane, Queensland, not only with his father but also with his ever-obliging mother. Ben becoming a professional cricketer was never in the family agenda, but enjoying, following and playing all sports was the family’s passion.
Ben was a late bloomer in cricket. He had some significant success at the Junior level and that catapulted him into a young prospect. He won the prestigious Peter Burge award for the best and fairest 1st-grade cricketer in Queensland in 2005-6. This quite naturally initiated him to play for Queensland, for whom he did in 2008. He went on to play for his country, Australia, in the limited over cricket format in 2009 and gradually progressed into becoming a specialist in the shorter version of the game.
Ben has this, “never say never” attitude in life. When he was 19 years old, he got a stress fracture in the back and therefore could not bowl fast. Most people would have given up, but the resolute young Laughlin could not be kept away from the game. He played club cricket as a batsman and bowled slow off-spinners. The off-spin funnily has become a useful tool now in his bowling armoury. This positive approach, whenever things are not going his way has played a major part in his success.
At 35 years, he is as fit as a fiddle and he showed this off by his agility and acrobatic skill when he took a catch on the boundary and threw it 30 yards back, while off the ground to Jake Weatheraid. This superman feat was necessary as the momentum was taking him over the boundary line. This phenomenal fielding feat is being heralded as the “boundary catch of the century”. This took place during the Big Bash 2018 in Australia recently.
Ben is one of the best death bowlers in limited overs cricket. His bowling variations, along with his favourite outswing delivery has been the ingredient that has made him very successful over the years.
A cool and calm mind and approach is what he feels is required to bowl at the end of a limited over game. One has to keep one's emotions in check, to enable one’s muscle memory to react in a relaxed manner. This he said, comes with many hours of practice and one needs to work on it, in every situation that one confronts in life.
Although cricket is his passion, he is also a very accomplished and skilled carpenter. The two CC’s are what he does to earn his living. He loves creating homes and furniture through building blocks and Rajasthan Royals will be looking forward to this handy-man to do the same for them during the IPL 2018. He did show what he can deliver in RR’s first victorious home match in Jaipur against the Delhi Dare Devils recently.
A hands-on person, he is adjusting his bowling to the Indian conditions by using his hardened fingers to cut the ball both ways and to create magical deliveries to outfox the batsmen.
Having already played before in the IPL, he is aware of the conditions, food and travel that one encounters in India and the challenges that go with it. Performing well in the most popular 20-20 tournament in the world is what he is looking forward to accomplishing.
Ben with his warm and friendly personality, has already made a pleasant impact on the young Indian colleagues. The difference he says about them is the change in their physical fitness. Each one of them is now boasting of a six-pack from the time he was here earlier.
A family man, he loves spending time at home with his wife and son. He has just moved to the beautiful town of Noosa, which is north of Brisbane. A place which is known for surfing, sunshine beaches, cafes and boutiques. Noosa is also the home to the famous Australian Koalas. The handy-man from Australia has an additional task and that is to look after the “Joey’s”, the young Koalas of the RR side.
About the author:
Yajurvindra Singh is a former cricketer who represented India between 1977 and 1979. He enjoys the unique distinction of achieving 2 world records – 5 catches in an innings, and 7 catches in a match - on his debut.