Sometimes it pays to take the road less travelled.
And in South West cricket hero Jayden Goodwin’s case, taking an unconventional pathway proved no barrier to realising a professional cricketing career.
The former South West Academy of Sport athlete, who took a break from the game part way through his rookie contract, made his first-class debut for Western Australia in the 2021-22 Sheffield Shield season on November 10.
On hand to present the 19-year-old left-handed batsman with his cap ahead of his first first-class match was his father Murray Goodwin, who is famed for playing Test cricket for Zimbabwe.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have made my debut,” Goodwin said.
“But I guess it’s just the start hopefully of my career to come.
“It feels like I’ve been working forever to get there but now it feels like I’ve actually just started.”
The upwards trajectory has continued for Goodwin, with the South West product joining fellow SWAS luminary Sam Whiteman in the Round 5 Marsh Sheffield match against Tasmania last week.
Goodwin’s unconventional pathway into professional cricket included taking sabbatical leave in 2019 to undertake a Mormon mission in Zimbabwe.
“I think I learned a lot about myself and about how people are,” Goodwin said.
“I don’t know how much it helped me with my cricket but it definitely taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with things in life.
“You know, cricket is part of my life so I guess it’s helped me to deal with the emotions that come with it – the ups and downs that you have. And that’s similar with life, you have ups and downs.
“It helped me learn to get through it. You know, the sun still rises the next day so just keep positive.”
After temporarily pressing pause on playing the game, Goodwin returned to the cricket field to amass 250 Premier Cricket runs this summer for Subiaco-Floreat at an average of 50, including one triple-figure score and a half-century.
“The goal for my life would be to play for Australia,” Goodwin said.
“I would love to captain Australia but it feels a long way off from where I am.
“It’s little goals from here to get some runs, just keep making the team and yeah, keep on putting my best foot forward and trying to win some games for WA.”
Goodwin, who stayed regionally-based until he was about 17 before moving to Perth to chase his goals, believes that no matter where you play, you will get noticed if you’re doing well.
His advice for young hopefuls with their sights set on following in his footsteps is to “keep it simple in whatever you do – and just work really hard.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re playing cricket in Perth or cricket in Bunbury – whatever you’re doing – the opportunities will come if you are making runs where ever it is, for example. You’re still going to get looked at.”