Jackson Isakka enters the upcoming NSW Premier Cricket season with a valuable addition to his kit bag: match practice.
The 19-year-old has spent the winter playing cricket in Darwin as he prepares for his second season in first grade with the Campbelltown-Camden Ghosts.
The former Westfields Sports High School student reveled in the warmer weather averaging more than 45 for Southern Districts in the Darwin and Districts Premier League Competition to help them finish second.
His good performances saw the Leumeah lad invited to train with the Northern Territory under-23 Cricket Academy which resulted in his selection in the Southern Storm side for the Northern Territory Cricket TIO Men's Strike League Competition: one of only a few cricket competitions being played worldwide.
Isakka's under-23 team won the T20 competition defeating the Desert Blaze team 2-1 in the three game series. The Wetherill Park junior finished as the leading batsman of the tournament with 144 runs at an average of 72 and a strike rate of 137.1 - which included a pull shot off former Tasmanian and Hobart Hurricanes fast bowler Aaron Summers during his innings of 44 in game two that ended up on the roof of the amenities block at Darwin's DXC Arena. Isakka, whose contract with Hornsey CC in the Middlesex League in the UK was cancelled due to the pandemic, described his experience in the Top End as "incredible". He arrives back in Sydney on Wednesday.
"It's perfect preparation for the season. It's definitely prepared me better than any other season," he told the Champion from Darwin.
"It's an advantage to come up here and play on good wickets, especially with Sydney in lockdown and synthetic pitches only available with limited light.
"I'm extremely lucky to have got the opportunity to play over the past three months... the weather has been mid-30s every day and it was a high level of cricket and I have really enjoyed it."
Isakka, who was last year named the Ghosts' rookie of the year, had a stellar season in his debut year scoring more than 600-runs. He was also the leading run scorer in the club's Poidevin Gray Shield team with 222 runs.