Lee Gaskin July 26, 2012
ACT batsman Dean Solway will make his way south to the South Australian Cricket academy. Photo: Jay Cronan
Learning from a former Australian coach was too good an offer for Dean Solway to refuse.
The ACT Comets and Queanbeyan batsman will take the next step in his blossoming career when he joins Tim Nielsen at the South Australian Redbacks academy for the 2012-13 season.
Nielsen spent four years in charge of the national team from 2007 to 2011, but has returned to his home state to mould the next generation of cricketers.
Solway - the son of ACT great Peter Solway - hopes a mountain of runs in grade cricket will help him win a full-time state contract with the Redbacks.
''It's just about impressing the new faces,'' Solway said.
''Last year was the big step up with the Futures League. It doesn't really take much to progress even further.
''You just need one or two good performances then other people are looking at you.''
Solway will make the 15-hour drive to Adelaide on Saturday with Peter, who is arguably the best player never to leave the confines of Manuka Oval.
Peter Solway is the all-time leading run-scorer for the ACT, captained Australian Country and played for the Prime Minister's XI against South Africa in 1993-94.
''I think dad would look back and wouldn't change anything, but he's probably wondered what could have happened if he did move,'' Dean Solway said.
''I think he's definitely happy that I've taken the big move at a young age of 19.
''I've got nothing really to lose.''
Dean Solway is one of the brightest batting prospects to emerge out of the ACT in recent years.
The 19-year-old has handled every challenge thrown his way, the highlight being an unbeaten 162 in his Futures League debut against a Sheffield Shield-strength Queensland Bulls bowling attack last year.
That led to his selection in last summer's Prime Minister's XI match against Sri Lanka and the three-day Chairman's XI match with India.
Solway is the latest in an exodus of ACT cricketers who have found their way to South Australia with a little help from former Comets coach Ashley Ross, who is the talent manager with the South Australian Cricket Association.
Michael Delaney, Sam Miller and Christian Hanna are trying to emulate the success of Nathan Lyon, the former Manuka Oval groundsman who is now a regular in the Australian Test team.
The off-spinner came to prominence after his standout performances in the Big Bash for the Redbacks.
And while Solway's got a long way to go before matching Lyon's meteoric rise, Cricket ACT high performance manager Andrew Dawson sees similarities between the pair.
''Without putting the mocker on him, he's like Nathan Lyon in that every level he goes to, he gets better,'' Dawson said.
''He keeps things in his stride and doesn't get too far ahead of himself.
''It's the perfect time for him to go.
''Being tossed out of his comfort zone will do him the world of good.''
Solway could still feature for the Comets this season if he is not required by the Redbacks.