National selectors decide on first-class Academy squad
Australia's push for suitable national-team back-up has forced Trevor Hohns's selection panel to choose this year's Academy squad for the first time. Brett Dorey, a 28-year-old who made his one-day debut in the VB Series, heads the list of 14 first-class players chosen in the outfit to signal a policy shift from the Centre of Excellence's traditional focus.
The Pura Cup fast bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus, Ben Edmondson, 27, and Doug Bollinger, were included for the 18-week program alongside the spinners Cullen Bailey and Beau Casson, while the Western Australia batsmen Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges, 26, were also called up. Hohns's panel was keen to include Dan Cullen, Shaun Tait and Mark Cosgrove, but they have already agreed to English county contracts.
"With the change in selection process this year, we have chosen 15 players based on a squad-type situation which will become particularly important when the scholars embark on the international tour later in the year," Hohns said. "We have tried to select a balanced squad of players to cover all facets of the game, and within that we have selected a blend of young players, along with others who have played some first-class cricket." Aaron Finch, the Australia Under-19 vice-captain, is the only member without a domestic four-day game on his resume.
A Cricket Australia spokeswoman said the focus had switched to service the short, medium and long-term needs of the national sides. The size of the intake has been cut from 26 and the program, which starts on April 18, will be extended by five weeks. The coaching at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane is led by Tim Nielsen with the assistants Jamie Siddons, Dene Hills, Brian McFadyen and Troy Cooley, the former England bowling mentor.
Academy squad Doug Bollinger (NSW), Daniel Doran (Qld), Cullen Bailey (SA), Callum Ferguson (SA), George Bailey (Tas), Ben Hilfenhaus (Tas), Tim Paine (Tas), Adam Crosthwaite (Vic), Aaron Finch (Vic), Peter Siddle (Vic), Beau Casson (WA), Brett Dorey (WA), Ben Edmondson (WA), Shaun Marsh (WA), Adam Voges (WA).