While both the Australian men's and women's cricket teams battle England for the Ashes throughout July, the next crop of Australia’s cricketing talent will head to the United Kingdom for a battle of their own against the old enemy.
Cricket Australia today announced the 15-man squad who will represent Australia in a month-long tour of British Isles, and among the rising stars named is Tom Healy, son of Australia’s longest-serving gloveman Ian.
Tom Healy has already been a prominent feature in Australia’s recent youth tours. He dominated the recent Cricket Australia Underage Championships for Queensland, showcasing his fast feet and tidy glovework, highlighted by his 10-catch performance against Victoria.
In an interview with cricket.com.au late last year, Tom said there was never any pressure on him from his famous dad to play cricket.
“I just enjoyed cricket growing up. He's told me that he doesn't mind what I do but he'll 100 per cent back me with what I decide to do, and at the moment it's cricket," Tom told cricket.com.au.
Having a dad who is widely regarded as Australia’s greatest gloveman and who continues to work with some of the best keepers around the country has its benefits, but Tom says he also welcomes advice from other coaches that he works with.
“To live in the same house as a wicketkeeper who played for Australia and coaches the current Australian wicketkeepers, it doesn't come around very often,” he said.
“He's there as a really good back up. I like to take my game into my own hands a bit and work on my game with other mentors and get their advice and just keep filtering that in.
“He's there when I really need him. I try and have a catch with him often just to make sure I'm going along the right track. But I like getting advice from other coaches and other voices to see what they think I should be doing to continue to evolve my game.”
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Also named in the squad is Sydney Thunder batsman Jake Doran, who had a remarkable summer when he scored 417 runs at 104.2, including an innings of 169 against the England U19s at the WACA earlier in the year.
Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said the tour would provide valuable playing experience ahead of the 2015-16 summer.
“We made some changes from the team that performed strongly against England in Perth two months ago with an eye to the World Cup early next year,’’ Chappell said.
“A number of the players have had the chance in recent months to demonstrate their development at the National Cricket Centre in specialist activities like Spin Week, wicket- keeping camp, the U-19 squad camp and as part of the National Performance Squad.
“We’re excited about the prospects of several of the group and certainly hope this is a springboard for them to enjoy some success with their States and elsewhere in the coming Australian summer.’’
Ben Taylor and Jonte Pattison, both part of the National Indigenous development squad, were named in the touring party after solid performances in the state competitions, with Pattison competing in the 2015 Imparja Cup.
Australia’s U19 squad will be coached by the CA High Performance Coach and former England batsman Graeme Hick and former Queensland fast bowler and Indian Bowling Coach Joe Dawes.
In the recent series played between the Australian and England Under 19s in Perth and Bunbury, Australia won the only three-day fixture while the ODI series was tightly fought, Australia edging out England 3-2.
Greg Chappell speaks about the Australian under 19s ahead of the home and away series against England
Squad: Jordan Gauci (NSW), Caleb Jewell (Tas), Sam Harper (Vic), Jake Doran (Tas), Patrick Page (SA), Will Pucovski (Vic), Tom Healy (Qld), Jonte Pattison (ACT/NSWC), Jhye Richardson (WA), Henry Thornton (NSW), David Grant (SA), Liam Hatcher (NSW), Sam Grimwade (Vic), Arjun Nair (NSW), Ben Taylor (ACT/NSWC)