Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
The emergence of Alex Carey, Marnus Labuschagne and Ben McDermott as players of national interest has been confirmed by their inclusion in Cricket Australia's national performance squad for 2017.
Carey enjoyed a strong season as wicketkeeper for a South Australian side that made the Sheffield Shield final for a second consecutive season, while Labuschagne enjoyed a strong season for Queensland and McDermott produced one of the innings of the Big Bash League for the Hobart Hurricanes against the Melbourne Renegades.
At a time when the national selectors are looking ardently towards youth, the trio will be aware of their standing when reminded of the fact that three members of last year's squad - Matt Renshaw, Hilton Cartwright and Sam Heazlett - all went on to play for Australia during the 2016-17 season.
"It's been really pleasing see three players from the 2016 National Performance Squad go on to play international cricket in the past 12 months," the national talent manager and selector Greg Chappell said. "In Matthew Renshaw and Hilton Cartwright at Test level, and Sam Heazlett at ODI level, the NPS program is having a real impact in developing Australia's emerging talent into cricketers capable of playing at the game's highest level.
"There is a wealth of talent in this squad, and a nice balance between players with domestic experience pushing to play for Australia in the near future, and players who we believe can make the step up from underage championships, to domestic level and hopefully international cricket over the next couple of years."
Pace bowlers will be the first to arrive at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane on May 8, before the full intake begins on May 29. The players will be sent to the Snowy Mountains for a boot camp before other keynote events including a five-day spin camp in June, a visit to the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai in July and a fielding and wicketkeeping camp in August.
"Our spin camp has been running now for a number of years, and each year I see it getting better. We have international conditions, international spinners and international coaches coming through as part of that particular program as well," the NPS head coach Troy Cooley said. "With the facilities we have, we can replicate Indian conditions and Australian conditions, and it really is a good opportunity for both batsmen and bowlers to develop their game outdoors in the sun."
"We've done some excellent work with the State Talent Managers and the National Selection Panel to select this squad, and we have another talented group of young players. Our role in this important pathway program is to value-add to the hard work the States are doing with these players.
"Our facilities are world renowned, and provide plenty of opportunities for cricketers to learn and develop their craft in a multitude of different conditions to not only improve on their current skills, but replicate the touring life of an international cricketer.
"There are several specialist camps as part of this year's program, including a boot camp in the Snowy Mountains to test our players' adaptability and resilience away from the game, and a trip to the MRF Academy which adds a real international flavour to the program, and further sub-continent experience."
National Performance Squad 2017: Alex Carey, Jackson Coleman, Michael Cormack, Brendan Doggett, Jake Doran, Daniel Fallins, Jordan Gauci, Ryan Gibson, Ryan Hadley, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Lewin Maladay, Ben McDermott, Tom O'Donnell, Ben Pengelley, Henry Thornton, Param Uppal, Mac Wright