Brushing shoulders with and learning from some of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's most respected and skilful cricketers is an opportunity Koroit's Mitch Lang is "chuffed" to receive.
The Saints' playing-coach is one of 27 players selected in the association's Melbourne Country Week squad for February's tournament. He is the only player selected from a club outside the division one grade.
He described the selection as somewhat "surprising" but equally humbling.
"I definitely didn't expect it, I obviously played Hudson Shield last year but with Melbourne Country Week coming back I expected a few more of the division one boys (to be selected) so I was surprised when I read I was in it," he said.
"I'm pretty chuffed by it."
The former Hamilton gun, who played eight country week games in 2017-18 and 2018-19, said the opportunity to play alongside the WDCA's biggest stars was a unique opportunity both personally and from a Koroit perspective.
"I only made the move last year but ultimately the goal is to play division one myself, but to help get the club there so to be able to put myself in that situation with the top players in the association and to play with them and get to know them is a great stepping stone," he said.
"If I can take stuff back (to Koroit) and try and develop a few of the other lads as well that'd be great - last year I played the one game (in the Hudson Shield) and I got the opportunity to bat with Cam (Williams) for a while and I took a few little things back about how relaxed he is at the crease.
"Murph (Nathan Murphy) is a quality cricketer too and he performed that day so it was good to see how he goes about it so it helps me develop.
"They're leaders of not only their clubs but the association as well and being a leader now myself taking little things away in the way they see the game is beneficial."
He said from previous country week experience in division three it was going to be a big step up a grade to play for Warrnambool.
"I played Hamilton's country week and captained a few rep teams but being there before and running into the Warrnambool boys a few times during dinners, I always kind of saw them as that next level up and somewhere I wanted to get," he said.
"They are not just good cricketers in our region but in country Victoria especially so playing a high division of country week is a big step up. If I get the chance to go, I'd be pretty stoked."
Since making the move across from Hamilton to Koroit in 2021-22, Lang admitted it had been a tough to adjust to the different conditions and players across both associations.
He added he was beginning to feel more comfortable but was on the hunt for a big score.
"The biggest thing I've maybe struggled with hasn't been the coaching side of things but coming from Hamilton we tend to have flatter wickets and bowlers bowl a bit more seam up whereas coming down to the coast there's more swing, slower decks and it's been a bit of an adjustment," he said.
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