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Matador Cup preview: Cricket Australia XI

We're previewing each of the sides in the lead-up to the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup and with today's focus on the tournament's young guns

The squad: William Bosisto (c, WA), Matthew Short (vc, Vic), James Bazley (Qld), Jake Carder (WA), Brendan Doggett (Qld), Ryan Gibson (NSW), David Grant (SA), Sam Grimwade (Vic), Sam Harper (Vic), Liam Hatcher (NSW), Josh Inglis (WA), Ryan Lees (Tas), Arjun Nair (NSW), Thomas O'Donnell (Vic) Coach: Brad Hodge.

Possible starting XI: Carder, Short, Bosisto (c), Gibson, Harper (wk), Bazley, Nair, O’Donnell, Grant, Lees, Grimwade.

Who they’re missing: Used primarily as a development vehicle, the CA XI has undergone mass changes from year one to year two. Only five players – Will Bosisto, Matthew Short, James Bazley, Liam Hatcher, Ryan Lees – return for a second season, while another five – Alex Gregory, Hilton Cartwright, Marcus Harris, Jimmy Peirson and Mitchell Swepson – have been included in state squads.

The inside word with allrounder James Bazley: "Looking back on last year all the Aussies were there so the tournament was so strong. I learnt a lot, like how to deal with the top level and what comes from that. For me it was those high-pressure moments. When you’re at that level everything is amplified because of the pressure you’re under. It was also learning about your own game and to trust your own game. Hodgey has spoken to us about playing with freedom and really trying to entertain, express our skills and showing what we’re made of."

The talking point: Brad Hodge takes his next step as a head coach by mentoring Australia’s next generation. Hodge’s coaching resume is looking better every year. After guiding the Adelaide Strikers to a semi-final as captain and assistant coach, the Victorian was appointed head coach of new Indian Premier League franchise Gujarat Lions. In their maiden season, Gujarat exceeded all expectations to finish first after the regular season rounds and fall one win short of a grand final appearance. The 41-year-old has also been linked with England county club Yorkshire following the departure of First XI coach Jason Gillespie earlier this month.

The 2015 result: Seventh. The CA XI couldn’t have got off to a worse start, running head first into rampaging speedsters Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson. After being bowled out for 59 against the Blues and 79 against the Bushrangers, the CA XI dusted themselves off to produce perhaps the biggest upset in Australian domestic 50-over cricket when they defeated Tasmania by three runs in a thriller at Bankstown Oval. Their performances grew stronger throughout the tournament, and while the wins didn’t come the experience the young group gained was invaluable. 

CA XI hold on in nail-biting final over

The young gun: They’re all young! Perhaps the most exciting squad member is 18-year-old mystery spinner Arjun Nair. The right-arm off-spinner bowls a bit like West Indies ace Sunil Narine, flicking deliveries out of the front of the hand and spinning the ball both ways. He made his List A debut this winter with the National Performance Squad and looks set to play an integral role with the CA XI during their campaign.

The pressure on: Cricket Australia. While the experience the youngsters in the CA XI will gain is priceless, the outfit still must be competitive. One win and some strong performances in year one would have impressed CA, but in year two, competitive matches and an extra win would likely equal a pass mark.

The fixtures:


October 1 v Queensland at Allan Border Field, Brisbane


October 5 v Tasmania at Allan Border Field, Brisbane


October 7 v NSW at Hurstville Oval, Sydney


October 11 v Victoria at North Sydney Oval, Sydney


October 15 v South Australia at Hurstville Oval, Sydney


October 17 v Western Australia at Hurstville Oval, Sydney


2016 Matador BBQs One-Day Cup - broadcast matches:


Oct 5: SA v Vic, WACA Ground.

Oct 6: WA v Qld, WACA Ground.

Oct 7: NSW v CA XI, Hurstville Oval (free live stream on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App only).

Oct 8: WA v Vic, WACA Ground.

Oct 9: NSW v Tas, Hurstville Oval (free live stream on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App only).

Oct 9: QLD v SA, WACA Ground.

Oct 12: SA v NSW, Drummoyne Oval.

Oct 13: Vic v Tas, North Sydney Oval.

Oct 14: Qld v NSW (D/N), Drummoyne Oval.

Oct 15: Tas v WA, North Sydney Oval.

Oct 16: NSW v Vic (D/N), North Sydney Oval.

Oct 18: Vic v Qld, Drummoyne Oval.

Oct 19: NSW v WA, North Sydney Oval.

Oct 21: Qualifying final, (D/N), Drummoyne Oval.

Oct 23: Final, North Sydney Oval.

All broadcast matches will be shown live and free on GEM, except for the final, which will be shown live and free on Channel Nine. Matches broadcast on the Nine Network can also be live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App with a CA Live Pass.

Meg Lanning Steve Smith