Perth Scorchers veteran run machine Michael Klinger held back the tears after being told he’d finally earned his maiden Australia call-up on Tuesday.
Cricket Australia on Wednesday morning announced the 13-player squad to face Sri Lanka in an upcoming three-game T20 International Series, with 36-year-old Klinger included.
It was Klinger’s first ever national call-up, having debuted at state level in the late 1990s.
“I called my wife first,” Klinger said, upon being told the news by coach Justin Langer on Tuesday afternoon.
“I held back the tears until I spoke to her. JL gave me a big hug and it was hard to keep the tears away until I spoke to her.
“I called my brother, my dad and my sister.
“It was a moment I wasn’t sure was going to come.
“That half an hour when I got to speak to my family, I’ll treasure forever.
“It’s been 15-16 years of hard work. It’s great to get some reward now. Exciting is the best word.
“I couldn’t be more pumped and I’m really happy for my family as well.”
Klinger’s 71no in the 2016/17 KFC Big Bash League Final made him the leading scorer in the competition’s history, showing his consistency over the past few years in T20 cricket.
With that in mind, he said he never gave up hope on an Australian call-up, although he conceded his chances in the longer format.
“I didn’t (give up),” Klinger said.
“Maybe in the last 12 months in terms of Test cricket, I thought they’d looked to go in a new direction.
“T20 cricket you usually pick the guys who are in form. As you’ve seen in the Big Bash now there’s a lot of experienced players playing very well.
“It’s a completely different format to the other two. I’m pretty pumped to be honest.”
After years of missing out, Klinger acknowledged, for once, the timing was right for him.
“There’s a few guys not around to be selected (due to Test duty) which helped a little bit,” Klinger said.
“I think my consistency in T20 cricket in the last six years in the Big Bash and maybe overseas.
“The timing is right, it probably hasn’t been in other years.
“I’m thrilled it went my way this time.”