Promising cricketer Matt Kuhnemann recently returned from a three-month stint playing Division 2 county cricket in England to take his spot on the Queensland Bulls squad.
The 19-year-old Bond University student and left-hand batsman, who began playing cricket at 10 years of age, said being selected for the Queensland Bulls had been a long-time dream.
"I found out right before I left for England that I had made the team and was originally meant to be in the UK right now for the summer, but I came back early to start playing with the Queensland Bulls," he said.
"It is an absolute dream come true to be selected to play for the Bulls. I never imagined I would be offered such an opportunity at this point in my career, so I'm really excited."
Kuhnemann said he spent the past few months with the Bishops Stortford Cricket Club in north-east London honing his skills.
"Playing in England was a great experience. I didn't have the coaches and physios to help me maintain my body, so I really had to learn to sustain my exercises and food intake on my own," he said.
"The wickets are completely different over there because it's a totally dissimilar climate to Australia, so it was a great learning experience.
"I hope to one day wear the baggy green and represent Australia in Test Cricket, so having the opportunity to play in England and to be selected for the Bulls side are both big steps forward in achieving that goal."
In 2014, Kuhnemann was recognised as a leading cricketer for his age when he was selected to travel to Sri Lanka for five one-day matches as part of Cricket Australia's under-17 side.
Kuhnemann is currently studying a Diploma of Sustainable Environment at Bond University on an ADCO Sports Excellence Scholarship, awarded to outstanding sports men and women from around Australia to help fund their tertiary studies.
He is also a member of the Bond Elite Sport Program (BESP), which supports elite athletes to balance their academic and sporting goals. As a BESP athlete, Kuhnemann received funding from the Elite Athlete Fund towards his trip to England.
"Bond has been so flexible in assisting me to pursue both my cricketing and academic career, allowing me to fit my studies around my training schedule," said Kuhnemann.
"With the financial and on-the-ground support of both ADCO and Bond, I have been able to manage my subjects, exams and assignments so that I can take full advantage of opportunities to further my cricketing dreams, which has been really helpful."