Young talent time for state cricket
September 11, 2017
Could this be one of the brightest summers yet for Australia’s next generation of stars?
This season’s state contract lists reflect that could be the case.
A combined 38 male and female players who featured at last year’s Underage National Championships are now contracted players in 2017-18 - highlighting the opportunities up for grabs at state level.
Almost one in five state-contracted female cricketers played at the Under 18 Female National Championships in 2016-17 - 18 players overall - while more than one in eight state-contracted male cricketers - a total of 20 - played at the Under 19 Male National Championships.
It’s an extremely promising sign, according to both Cricket Australia’s National Talent Manager Greg Chappell and Female High Performance Coach Leah Poulton.
“The Pathways Program and these championships are crucial components in producing future Australian stars,” Chappell said.
“To have 20 players from last year’s male underage championships on state lists this summer highlights the quality of players that this program is helping produce.”
A number of female stars shone in the second edition of the Women’s Big Bash League - and have now made their way onto state lists.
“We’ve already seen some of last year’s group of players go on to make their WBBL debuts and to see so many receiving state contracts this year shows that the system is working,” Poulton said.
“It’s exciting to see the depth of talented players continuing to increase and it’s vital that we continue to advance a system that will allow them to develop into future Australian players.”
Among them are Melbourne Renegades and now VicSpirit duo Annabel Sutherland and Georgia Wareham - with Sutherland remarkably playing at last year’s Under 15 and Under 18 Female National Championships, plus earning a WBBL debut at just 15 years of age.
Player of the Under 18 Championships Clara Iemma makes her way to the ACT Meteors, after scoring a tournament high 286 runs and ranking equal-second for wickets (13), while New South Wales young guns Rachel Trenaman and Carly Leeson make their way onto the Breakers’ list.
It’s a similar story from a male perspective, with two of last year’s Under 19 Male National Championships stars already going onto bigger and better things.
“The likes of Will Pucovski from Victoria and Cameron Green from Western Australia made Sheffield Shield debuts last summer after starring at the Under 19 Championships,” Chappell said.
“This only goes to show how close some of these players are to competing alongside Australia’s best – and why we need to keep providing our best young talent with the best possible cricketing experiences.”
Player of the Under 19 Championships Pucovski made his Sheffield Shield debut for Victoria on the back of a record-breaking 650-run carnival as an uncontracted player - and has since been signed to a full contract by the Bushrangers.
Western Warriors rookie Green was Player of the Under 19 Championships Final - and has since been upgraded to a full contract - after a phenomenal run in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season, including a five-wicket haul on debut.
Then there’s Victorian trio Will Sutherland, Zak Evans and Mitch Perry - plus promising South Australian leg-spinner Lloyd Pope - who each picked up rookie deals after playing at both the Under 17 and Under 19 Championships.
All of whom will be in contention for selection to help Australia win the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup in early 2018, for the first time since current stars including Mitch Marsh (captain) and Josh Hazlewood (player of the final) lifted the trophy in 2010.
2017-18 Underage National Championships Dates
September 25 to October 5 – Under 17 Male National Championships (Sunshine Coast and Brisbane)
November 27 to December 7 – Under 18 Female National Championships (Canberra)
December 4 to 15 – Under 19 Male National Championships (Hobart and Launceston)
January 17 to 23 – Under 15 Female National Championships (Adelaide)
Full fixtures can be found at www.nationalchamps.com.au