Virat Kohli has a problem, 7-year-old Australia co-captain Archie Schiller

Archie Schiller was informed about his selection to the Australia's Test squad via a phone call from head coach Justin Langer.

Archie Schiller is all set to 'lead' Australia in the Boxing Day Test against India in Melbourne.   -  Special Arrangement

Virat Kohli has his task cut out for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, where Australia will line up two captains against India. Australian captain Tim Paine is a known commodity for Kohli and the Indian team, but the other bloke, the co-captain, might be a tad more difficult to handle. 

Meet Archie Schiller, the seven-year-old leg-spinner from Barossa Valley in Adelaide, who is set to lead Australia alongside Paine at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the third Test. The four-match series is in the balance at 1-1.  

Archie was diagnosed with a rare heart condition when he was just three months old, and has undergone multiple surgeries. Make-A-Wish Australia came to know of Archie's battle and set the ball rolling. Soon enough, Archie got the Australian national team call-up. 

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In true Aussie cricketing tradition, Archie is already gunning for the rival captain. Here is what is on his wishlist: have a go at Kohli and dismiss him. Most bowlers steer clear of provoking Kohli, at least in the build-up to a match, but not Archie.  

He is elated at the prospect of donning the baggy green. "I’m very excited to step up as captain next to Tim Paine. It’s been a very good (experience) and I got to meet my favourite player Nathan Lyon," Archie tells Sportstar, reflecting on a training session at the Adelaide Oval earlier this month where he rubbed shoulders with the Australian squad.

 

Archie was informed about his selection to the Test squad via a phone call from head coach Justin Langer. A video of the call went viral.

His mother, Sarah, recalls the moment. "I think Archie’s reaction was one of mixed feelings — being shocked and amazed that this famous athlete and Australian cricket coach would call him of all people.

"I also believe Archie felt quite proud to be considered to play as he works so hard at his cricket knowing he doesn’t quite have the stamina of his other teammates and friends. He was also thankful as he knew how busy someone like Justin Langer is."

 

Sarah shares how her son's love of the game, and a close friend, made Archie's dream come true. "He was struggling last year (2017) with a decline in health, so his attendance at school was low, which resulted in friendships not being strong and... often missing out on events and general socialising with his friends.

"Our very dear friend who is also a mother of a heart child asked if she could recommend Archie for a Wish… and the rest is history, as they would say."

The last few weeks have been surreal for the Schillers. Sarah says she has a new appreciation of those who work in the media. Archie has taken all the media attention in his stride. He is "not fussed or worried" about who is talking to him or filming him.

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"He just really wants to play cricket so that’s what he does without worrying about anything going on around him. His younger brother, three-year-old Harry, is the same. Cricket is life for our boys," says Sarah. 

"Damien (Archie's father) and I have tried to give the media as much of our attention as possible so the world can hear about this amazing charity, Make a Wish, which has played a large part in conjunction with Cricket Australia in making this wish and dream come true."

According to Sarah, Cricket Australia and Make-A-Wish have kept a few secrets from them all ahead of the Boxing Day Test, but Archie will toss the coin at the start of the match. "We hope he will get to spend as much time as possible with the team, but we understand they also have a job to do and, we hope, they do it well," says Sarah.

"Archie got to experience of being in the change room with the team when he was training in Adelaide and absolutely loved it, but he did avoid the ice bath," she adds.

Archie, meanwhile, is primed for the contest. "I’ve had the most amazing time of my life." Before he walks out at the MCG on Wednesday, here is his war cry: "GO AUSSIE!"