When any athlete’s “big break” comes, it’s a career defining moment. Pressure mounts as self expectations rise. In 2014, Canberra cricketer Blake Dean received a last-minute call up to the Sydney Thunder for his debut Big Bash League match. But leaving the SCG that evening, his mental health plummeted after failing to perform when it counted.
A year later, when trialling for a BBL return, Dean was dealt another blow, tearing his right rotator cuff - meaning the all-rounder could no longer bat or bowl without undergoing a shoulder reconstruction. With a young family and mortgage to pay, Blake declined the expensive surgery and took on a less traditional route to return.
Re-teaching himself to play left-handed and starting in Canberra’s Second Grade competition, The Southpaw Project follows Blake’s five-year pursuit to be the first true "ambidextrous cricketer" to play in the Big Bash League - batting, bowling and fielding left and right-handed. Following a path less travelled, Blake tries to prove to himself he can perform at an elite level, while changing the game he loves.