Jack Craig's first year as a Melbourne player has opened his eyes as to what exactly what he's left behind.
The former Wodonga all-rounder joined the Victorian Premier Cricket outfit last year and is signed up for the 2021-22 season.
Craig is now rubbing shoulders with Big Bash regulars including Seb Gotch, Sam Harper and Jack Prestwidge.
"It was a massive eye-opener for me," Craig said.
"It's shown me how good Cricket Albury Wodonga is and I wish some other players in that competition would go down and test themselves out.
"But then again, it's a challenge. I'm used to facing the same bowlers every week and I know what I'm coming up against but in Melbourne, I don't.
"I've had the same coach my whole life so to hear another point of view on me and my game was good.
"It is also hard. These guys don't know my game and what works best for me so I've found picking the right people to listen to is a necessity.
"You need to work out who to listen to pretty quick because you get a lot of opinions and it could hinder your game.
"I went away from that a little bit last season.
"I need to filter what I want to listen to but Melbourne has some great resources and some great coaches and players. It's good to watch them as well."
Watching the professionals at close-quarters has been enlightening.
"It's their work-rate; they don't stop," Craig said.
"They hit way more cricket balls than we normally do in the country.
"You see them there before training, throw-downs, wangers, doing the extras with people and they're always the last to leave.
"Once you've finished training, there's still plenty of time and I've started to jump on board with them.
"I was struggling a bit so I wanted to see some inroads on my game and that's where I started."
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Craig wasn't happy with his form in the second half of last season but with the likes of Cameron White and Prestwidge to lean on for support and advice, he's determined to go to the next level.
"I know I can do it," he said. "It's just about mindset.
"I need to get myself in the right zone and feel comfortable at the club, at the crease and just play my game.
"I'm looking forward to working hard again this season and bringing out the Jack Craig that I know I can."
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