AUS v IND 2018

Australia v India: 7-year-old Archie Schiller to captain Australia on Boxing Day

The Advertiser and Simon Cross Photography

A cricket mad young fan will be given the opportunity to lead out Australia in the Boxing Day Test. Christmas has come early for cricket mad Archie Schiller with confirmation the seven-year-old will lead Australia in the iconic Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Seven-year-old Archie Schiller suffers from a congenital heart problem and has had three bouts of open heart surgery in short life, as well as nine other operations.

The announcement Archie will be co-captain alongside Tim Paine was made at this afternoon’s BUPA Family Day at Yarra Park ahead of the third Domain Test against India starting on Wednesday.

Captains Virat Kohli of India, Tim Paine of Australia along with Cricket Australia’s Earl Eddings, Sports and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula and Archie Shiller from the Make A Wish foundation who will be co-captain on Boxing Day and pose with the BorderÐGavaskar Trophy. (Photo by Scott Barbour – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

The leg-spinner from Adelaide is set to partner star off-spinner Nathan Lyon after his ascension to the leadership role. Archie turned seven on Saturday – the same day Paine delivered the news to the bubbly youngster.

When Archie’s father asked him once what he would like to, the cricket-mad Archie had said he wants to captain the Australian cricket team.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation have organised for Archie to co-captain alongside Tim Paine in the third Test against India.

“One of the things he said when his dad asked him what he wanted to do was he ‘I want to captain Australia’,” Paine said before the first Test in Adelaide.

Coach Justin Langer gave Archie a call during the recent tour of the UAE to give him the news of his Boxing Day call up.

When he was just three months old, his heart condition diagnosed weeks after his birth required an urgent trip from Nuriootpa in South Australia to Melbourne where he underwent urgent surgery lasting more than seven hours.

Six months later, he endured a second bout as specialists fought to fix the faulty valves and irregular rhythms of Archie’s bravely beating heart.

When those measures showed signs of failing last December, the family ventured back to Melbourne for his third open-heart procedure and faced the reality they risked returning home without their son.

“We were told that it could go either way,” Archie’s mum Sarah recalled.

Archie Shriller during an Australian nets session at Adelaide Oval on December 4, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo: Cricket Australia

Archie misses a lot of school which has a big impact on his friendships, because if you miss your turn at batting or being goal umpire (at football), there’s no second chances.

“We’ve learned to take nothing for granted, and to cherish every day we have with him.”

The other day he came home and said ‘I couldn’t find my friends and didn’t have the energy to run after them, so I just sat and read a book’. To me that was heartbreaking, even though it was a really responsible, grown-up decision to make.

Archie pulled through his latest ordeal, and Melbourne once more looms as the centre of Christmas 2018 for Archie, three-year-old Harry, dad Damien and Sarah.

But, thankfully, this time the circumstances are much different. Obviously Arch has been through a really tough period and his family, Paine said.

Sometimes we live a life, it’s very good, but you can be consumed in your own life at times, so to have someone like that around is actually really inspiring for our group.

“It’s great to have him around and we look forward to his debut on Boxing Day.”

Archie’s addition is another boost for an Australia side on a high after their series-levelling victory at Perth Stadium in the second Test.

Australia squad:

Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Archie Schiller

India squad:

Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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