The 2002 Institute Challenge begins in Darwin next week (25-30 August) with six teams from state institutes of sport set to contest a round-robin series of one-day matches.
The tournament, based on the format of Australia's domestic limited-overs competition, the ING Cup, will provide top-level competition for cricket scholarship holders in state institute of sport and academy programs.
Teams from the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS), Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS), Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS), the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy (CBCA) and a representative side from the Northern Territory (NT XI) will make up the talented field.
The round-robin series commences on Sunday 25 August with each team scheduled to play five one-day matches over the six-day tournament.
Australian Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said the competition was another aspect of cricket's high performance program developing Australia's top young players.
"The Darwin series will showcase a number of the country's best young players at this level and give them a chance to test their ability against quality opposition.
"From a development perspective, it parallels the ACB Cup competition but the unique aspect of the series is that the players will all come together at the one time," Mr Sutherland said.
"Players involved in state institute of sport programs need match conditioning to hone the skills they have developed under specialist coaching.
"The ACB's high performance program attempts to harness the potential of young cricketers by providing challenging competition that will fast-track the players' progress," he said.
Next week's event is the fourth time the Institute Challenge series has been staged. The Northern Territory will host the event for the first time.
This year's program sees the inclusion of a senior Northern Territory team and a CBCA side.
The CBCA squad will be made up of Australian Capital Territory, South Australian and Western Australian scholars only as those states will not be fielding institute teams. Two players from the MRF Pace Foundation in India will be added to the CBCA squad.
Thirteen players competing in the series have experienced first-class cricket for their state. These include Cameron Borgas, Sean Clingeleffer, Xavier Doherty, Ryan Harris, Michael Klinger, Scott Kremerskothen, Andrew McDonald, Aaron O Brien, Scott O Leary, Daniel Payne, Shannon Tubb, Cameron White and Luke Williams.
The NSWIS won the 2001 Institute Challenge in Townsville.
Former Victorian fast-bowler Paul Reiffel, who was recently appointed to the ACB's Umpires' Project Panel, will officiate at the series along with experienced National Umpires Panel member Darrell Hair.
The ACB contracted umpires for the Institute Challenge are:
Darrell Hair NSW National Panel Ian Lock WA Supplementary Panel Nick Fowler NSW Development Panel Paul Reiffel VIC Project Panel
Northern Territory umpires Stuart Davis and John Martin complete the umpire appointments.