He’s The Heat’s homegrown hero and Grant Stockwell found Ben Cutting ready for the summer of cricket.

He’s pounded pitches and peppered boundaries at some of Australia’s most famous cricket grounds but the most poignant memory in Ben Cutting’s mind is actually of playing cricket on a tennis court.

Ben Cutting, The Heat’s homegrown hero, was raised in parents Colin and Wendy had a big backyard that housed a tennis court. “My earliest memories are playing backyard cricket against Dad. I remember Dad steaming into bowl and me trying to hit him out of the backyard,” Cutting said. “We played on an artificial grass tennis court that provided plenty of bounce but there wasn’t much tennis played – it was always cricket.”

Wind the clock forward about two decades and Cutting, now a197cm leanmean cricketing machine is looking forward to the start of the cricket season and Brisbane Heat’s opening game of the Big Bash League (BBL) at The Gabba on 22 December.The Heat will play the Perth Scorchers in the opening fixture and Cutting said the atmosphere at The Gabba will be electric.“It can’t come around quick enough.It’s school holidays, it’s three days before Christmas, there will be a big crowd and everyone will be right into the festive spirit.“It’s been a big build up to the season and I’m raring to go,” he says. “The Big Bash is such an entertaining form of the game and the crowd really get involved.”

Like every school-boy cricketer, Cutting harboured dreams of jagging a bag of wickets and smacking a century for Australia but it wasn’t until his late teens that he caught the selectors’ attention. “I played junior cricket for McGregor which is the feeder club for Souths and is still my club side but I didn’t play any representative cricket until under-19 when I made the Queensland side,” Cutting said. “That was when I went from playing grade cricket with my mates to playing representative cricket and then I made the Australian under-19 side as well.

“There was always that dream inside me to play for the Bulls and play for Australia but it didn’t start to take shape until I was about 20 years old.” Cutting debuted for the Queensland Bulls against Tasmania during the 2006-07 season but the reality of it was far from how he dreamed it would be all those years ago at Stretton.“The first ball I bowled was so wide it missed the batsman and wicket-keeper altogether and ran away down to the boundary for five byes,” he said.

“Our captain Jimmy Maher said ‘don’t worry, there’ll plenty more chances’. It wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be.” The First Ashes Test at the Gabba recently sparked another of Cutting’s most cherished cricketing memories and signalled the realisation of another childhood dream.“To wear the Baggy Green was something that I always wanted to do and I came on as a substitute fielder in the First Ashes Test in the 2006–2007 season at the Gabba, it was something I’ll never forget.”