Matador BBQs One-Day Cup 2015

Stanlake ready to stand tall for Queensland

Towering young fast bowler set to burst onto scene at Matador Cup

Laura Jolly

21 September 2015, 03:22 PM

Queensland's ambition to reach the top of the domestic scene this summer has got a literal early boost with towering quick Billy Stanlake that latest in a line of fearsome fast bowlers on the Australian scene.

Standing at 204cm, Stanlake is taller than Queensland teammate Peter George and former Australia quick Bruce Reid, who both stand at 203cm.

Queensland bowling coach Ashley Noffke has little doubt the towering young quick will be one to watch at this year's Matador BBQs One-Day Cup in Sydney next month.

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Already an Australia Under-19s representative, Stanlake is in line to make his domestic one-day debut for the myFootDr Queensland Bulls when the tournament begins on October 5.

The 20-year-old first came to Queensland's attention as a 12-year-old and, having missed the entire 2014-15 season with stress fractures in his back, he has completed an injury-free pre-season and is clocking speeds upwards of 145kph in the nets.

"Billy is an exciting talent," former Australia and Queensland fast bowler Noffke told cricket.com.au.

"He is still young in a bowling sense and he's still got a lot of work to be done, but in saying that he has got the raw makings of someone who can go a long way in the game."

A genuine wicket-taking threat with his ability to make the new ball swing, Stanlake hails from the Gold Coast, where he has been on Queensland's radar since he was a lanky 12-year-old trying to emulate his hero Brett Lee.

Progression through the underage state groups saw him make Queensland's Under-19 team for the 2013 national championships in Hobart, where he took 14 wickets in three matches, including 6-30 against Victoria and 5-40 against NSW.

Billy Stanlake in action at last year's U19 World Cup // Getty Images

That lead to selection in Australia's U19 team for the 2014 U19 World Cup where, on the flat batsman-friendly pitches of Dubai he was the team's most economical bowler with five wickets at 19.40 and 3.34 runs per over in four matches.

"It's not only us, but also Cricket Australia are very interested in him and I'm looking forward to seeing him bowl throughout the tournament," Noffke said.

Fellow quick Ben Cutting is another bowler who has been working hard during the off-season, with the 28-year-old having upped his pace after a below-par 2014-15 season.

Cutting took nine wickets at 43.22 in last year's Matador Cup, and 10 scalps at 38 in five Sheffield Shield matches.

"He has obviously come off a year where he really wanted some improvement," Noffke said.

"Every pre-season game this year his pace has been up and he's bowling fast again.

"We had the speed gun on him at training and he was definitely in that high 130s to early 140s (kph) again which is something that's really important to his bowling.

"I'm looking forward to seeing some speed and some good areas from Ben. He's got a lot to offer this year to Queensland and hopefully to Australian cricket."

Noffee also tipped 21-year-old right-arm quick Mark Steketee to make an impact for the Bulls in the one-day tournament who has a big opportunity with last season's leading wicket-taker, Peter George, ruled out with a hamstring injury.

"Steketee is a standout for us. Anyone who can bowl in the low 140s can provide a great opportunity for a team to take wickets and that's what he's there to do.

"George, unfortunately, has had a hamstring complaint and is taking some time to get that right.

"It's only a few weeks, but it still puts you behind when he's done really well in pre-season and I was really excited with the way he was heading."

Noffke expects Chris Lynn to excel in the captaincy, with the batsman standing in Usman Khawaja after his selection in the Australia Test squad to tour Bangladesh.

Chris Lynn will lead the Bulls // Getty Images

"He's going really well, he's obviously coming off 209 in a one-dayer in club cricket and he's hitting them pretty well," Noffke said.

"Sometimes the captaincy can go either way but I think he's one who will relish the responsibility. He has the backing of the players and I think we'll see that in their performances."

With Queensland out to improve on their third-place effort last season, Noffke said he hoped good preparation would translate to on-field success.

"In terms of the skills in the group, I'm very impressed and I think everyone is testing themselves," he said.

"We've got a really talented young group, but performances will come down to how they handle those critical moments in a game and whether they hold their nerve and back their skills."