Matt Short of Victoria is among the young batsmen moving into the frame for national selection.
Matt Short of Victoria is among the young batsmen moving into the frame for national selection.

Memo selectors: 10 young batting bolters

SELECTORS should not be afraid to gamble on youth as an undermanned Australian side prepares to take on India and Sri Lanka on home soil, according to the man charged with presenting cricket's next generation.

Australia's batting line-up is diminished in the absence of A-graders Steve Smith and David Warner, while the Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, failed to fire in the Middle East and an injury cloud hangs over Usman Khawaja (knee).

It sets the scene for a bolter to be named for the first Test against India starting on December 6 in Adelaide.

National Performance Program head coach Troy Cooley said South Australian Jake Weatherald was waiting for his chance.

"He's ready," Cooley said of the left-hander who may best be known as the Striker who blasted a ton in this year's Big Bash final.

"Score some runs, the door opens up and I think he's got the maturity and the game to succeed.

"He's going to be ready for the opportunity; that means making every day a winner and he's got a great attitude.

"We had him up here (in Brisbane) this winter … he's probably a bit older, but he identified he really wanted to work hard on some aspects of his batting that he wasn't happy with and he really, really excelled."

Will Pucovski celebrates his double century for Victoria.
Will Pucovski celebrates his double century for Victoria.

Cooley said selectors should be excited rather than nervous about handing an international debut to a youngster following the Sheffield Shield double century scored by 20-year-old Victorian Will Pucovski last week.

"I get excited. We don't put people up unless they're capable," Cooley said.

"I think age is not a limit, otherwise (India) wouldn't have picked a Sachin Tendulkar and those sort of people.

"You've got to have the right qualities, otherwise you do young people an injustice.

"Jack Edwards hit JLT for the first time and showed that, don't get scared about putting kids in who we think have got the talent because they might just surprise you.

"And don't we like surprises."

First-season Australian coach Justin Langer, speaking after his side failed to pass 164 in either innings of the second Test against Pakistan, had a positive message for players banging down the door.

"If I'm a young batsman in Australia it's a pretty exciting time. If you work really hard on your basic game and you learn how to make runs then there will be huge opportunities in the Australian cricket team," Langer said.

Jake Weatherald is ready to step up to the national stage.
Jake Weatherald is ready to step up to the national stage.

The national performance program has schooled its budding batsmen on spin and swing with the next breed determined to master their approach to the bowling that has challenged Australians in the past.

"Over 90%  of the kids who make it come through the pathway. It's a great breeding ground," Cooley said.

"We run the rule over them, we know how important first-class cricket is.

"We know from our stats if you haven't made first-class cricket by the age of 23, it's going to be very, very hard for you and the numbers aren't on your side to making it through to Test level.

"These young men have got good attributes and if they keep consistently performing they get an opportunity, or an opportunity opens up, I think they've got every chance to take it."

BATTER UP

Australia's next crop of batting talent is right under our nose and set to burst on to the international scene as early as this summer - here are the batsmen you need to know.

Jake Weatherald (SA)

23, Left-hand bat

"He's pretty exciting. Fantastic attitude and he works his backside off. He's worked on being able to play a more straight-bat game and then bring out his cross-bat shots, which we know are pretty devastating. Just loves to bat, but has worked on his fielding. He can bowl leg-spin too." - National Performance Program head coach Troy Cooley

Will Pucovski (VIC)

20, right-hand bat

"He's got some great attributes. He's a 360 player - he has that ability to score runs. His foot work, his balance, all the things we like to see in our runscorers, a foundation for scoring runs, he's shown that. He's a pretty natural player. Judges length well, he hits the ball in the gaps and he really, really enjoys batting. He's an engine room player"

Rising WA star Josh Philippe.
Rising WA star Josh Philippe.

Josh Philippe (WA)

21, right-hand bat

"Philippe put his name up when he made those quick runs against England in a WA XI game. He's got some pretty cool attributes as young batter. He loves to score fast and he's trying to complete his game and make sure he can be adaptable to all situations. He'll go well."

Jack Edwards (NSW)

18, right-hand bat

"He's six foot five (195cm), he's got really cool athletic ability for a big man. He's an exciting young man … he can handle spin and he's motivated to do well. He's got an ability to open up games."

Jason Sangha (NSW)

19, right-hand bat

"A good thinking cricketer. He can bowl leg-spin. He's got good footwork, he plays spin well. He took on England (playing for a CA XI last November) after they bounced him and he really dug in deep, so he's got a bit of grit and he took them down for a hundred. He's showing he's got all the right characteristics and capabilities of being a top-line batsman."

 

Matt Short (VIC)

22, right-hand bat

"He's made 100 against an England side last season (same match as Sangha) and he's made runs in teams through the CA pathway. He has another string to his bow, he's a good off-spinner, and he's a great fielder."

Jake Doran (TAS)

21, left-hand bat

"He's been in the system a while now, he's a hardworking batting prospect. He's starting to show potential."

Nathan McSweeney batting for the Bulls.    (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Nathan McSweeney batting for the Bulls. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Nathan McSweeney (QLD)

19, All-rounder (right-hand bat)

"Exciting. He definitely grinds things away. He's worked hard during the winter to develop his game."

Cameron Green (WA)

19, All-rounder (right-hand bat)

"He is a good batsman. He can bowl. He's a genuine all-rounder. Bowls genuine away swing - we've got to try to keep his body together because he's young."

Jono Merlo (VIC)

19, All-rounder (right-hand bat)

"He's definitely got a lot of upside. He's showing he's got some great one-day skills and attributes.



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