Young guns named in new Matador Cup squad
South Australian allrounder Alex Gregory will captain the Cricket Australia XI in their inaugural Matador Cup campaign next month. As many as eight players could make their one-day debuts as a result of the inclusion of a seventh side in the tournament, with a squad made up of talented young players who missed out on selection in their respective 14-man state squads.
Gregory, 20, played for the Redbacks in last summer's Matador Cup and is one of six squad members with List A experience. The team has been introduced this season in an effort to provide greater exposure to elite-level cricket for some of the country's emerging players, and CA national talent manager Greg Chappell said he was confident the side would be competitive against the states.
"The idea behind it was to make sure the next generation of cricketers were going to get the opportunities they need to keep their development going," Chappell said. "There will be some familiar names from having played a little bit of first-class cricket or a little bit of 50-over cricket for their state previously.
"They are the ones the public can start looking at with the view to perhaps watching them grow over the next few years, get into their state sides and hopefully go on to represent Australia.
"They will be competitive. There are probably three or four players that we thought we might have in the CA XI side who have gone on and been selected by their states and we would expect them to play prominent roles in their state squad. So maybe we have frightened some of the states into thinking they needed to pick some of their young players and, if that's the case, that's terrific."
National Cricket Centre head coach Troy Cooley and Australia Under-19 mentor Graeme Hick will be in charge of preparing the squad for their Matador Cup campaign. The tournament will be played around Sydney through October and the Cricket Australia XI's first match is against New South Wales on October 5.
Cricket Australia XI squad Alex Gregory (SA, capt), Sam Heazlett (Qld), James Peirson (Qld), Ben McDermott (Tas), James Bazley (Qld), Seb Gotch (Vic), Matthew Short (Vic), Jack Wildermuth (Qld), Jhye Richardson (WA), Liam Hatcher (NSW), Mitch Swepson (Qld), Hilton Cartwright (WA). Riley Ayre (ACT/NSW), Matthew Dixon (WA).