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The year Ashton became famous
The West Australian This has been the busiest and probably best year of my life.

This has been the busiest and probably best year of my life.

I never expected when I played my first Sheffield Shield game early this year to end up playing for Australia, but it was a dream come true.

I made my first class cricket debut in January after Michael Beer was injured.

It was an exciting time with my family there and it validated the reason I moved to WA - to get an opportunity - and I got one in my first year.

It all happened so fast. I remember hearing someone say, "Beery has gone down, he's hurt his shoulder", and in my head I was ready to play.

Justin Langer came up to me and said, "Are you ready to make your debut for WA?"

I said, "Yeah, absolutely."

After two shield games I went to India as a development player for my first experience with the Australian team.

I returned to shield cricket and felt I was bowling really well and batting quite well, and was selected on an Australian tour to Britain through an Australian Institute of Sport centre of excellence scholarship.

In England I met some great people, trained a lot and felt I performed reasonably well.

Then, with my bags packed and expecting to fly home, I was called into head selector John Inverarity's room.

He said I was staying on as a development player and told me, "Don't lose sight of the possibility of playing in the first (Ashes) Test. You have to be ready to play."

I was rapt to stay. It was a massive honour and privilege.

Two days before the Test, Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann came up and Rod said, "You're in, go and tell your parents."

I did that straight away and they were on a plane the next day to make it just in time to see me get my baggy green.

That was the ultimate, so special. I just had to ride the wave, it all happened so quickly.

It is everything I ever wanted and it's nice to just look at my baggy green sometimes. I'll always have it, regardless.

The Test was incredible.

I'll never forget walking down the steps and singing the national anthem. It gave me shivers. Then it was show time.

When the first ball was bowled it really hit me, looking around at the crowd, that I was playing a Test match.

I didn't get a wicket in the first innings but I didn't go for too many runs.

That night I went to bed knowing I would be batting the next day.

On the bus to Trent Bridge we were having a laugh and Michael Clarke said to me, "100 on debut youngster", and I said, "I'll be doing my best." I won't forget putting my helmet and gloves on and walking out there. I made sure I looked around the ground and at my family and took everything in.

The crowd was going wild. They were right behind the English bowlers and it felt they were right on top of us.

But after my first run, I felt a lot more relaxed and was trying to play my natural game.

I was lucky to have Phil Hughes out there. He was very supportive and for most of the innings I wasn't thinking about a century.

It was just a lot of fun. We were laughing, having a bit of a joke and we could sense England's frustration. We were having a really good time.

When I got my 50, that was massive. I was so happy and the whole crowd was standing. The 100 entered my mind when I got to 90, then I was out on 98 and the crowd was going mad. I got lots of pats on the back. The boys were very happy for me but disappointed for me, too.

But I wasn't too disappointed. Obviously you think, "I could have done this or that", but the reality is it's finished.

There was a lot of attention but it was all positive and everyone was behind the team and me. My family, my friends, people I didn't know, even the English crowd, were all supporting me so it gave me a lot of confidence in my own ability.

Getting my first wicket, Alastair Cook, was a massive moment on par with the 98. I was rapt because as much as I wanted to make runs, I wanted to take wickets more.

I turned 20 in October. All I have to do now is keep trying to improve and perform well with the Scorchers in the Big Bash.

From January to now I feel like a completely different cricketer: so much more experienced and I learnt a lot about life through travelling and being with experienced people.

I feel like I've matured in every aspect.

As told to Rhianna King