Patterson headlines talent pool for Top End tournaments
Thirty-one players have nominated to be part of the new initiative to play 50-over and T20 cricket in Darwin this winter
21 April 2021, 06:00 AM AEST
Test-capped batter Kurtis Patterson and fellow Australia representative Chris Tremain headline a list of high-profile players heading to Darwin during the coming winter to be part of the Northern Territory's inaugural Cricket 365 program.
Patterson, who captained New South Wales in last week's Marsh Sheffield Shield final loss to Queensland, is one of 31 interstate cricketers who have signed to take part in 50-over and T20 competitions staged by NT Cricket from June-August.
The 27-year-old scored a maiden Test century against Sri Lanka at Canberra in 2019 and boasts a Test average of 144, but then entered a run drought that saw him without a Shield century for two years until a breakthrough ton against South Australia last month.
He will be among a strong Blues' contingent that has opted to play through the off-season including Shield final teammates Matthew Gilkes, Jason Sangha and Jack Edwards, as well as Edwards' older brother Mickey and Lachie Hearne who was a member of NSW's squad for the Shield decider.
Tremain, the 2017-18 Shield player of the year with Victoria, relocated to Sydney last year but was unable to break into the strong Blues' line-up and is hoping to reignite his career with a stint in the Top End.
Others with first-class experience to pursue the winter playing option are South Australia's Shield opening pair Jake Weatherald and Henry Hunt as well as spinners Lloyd Pope (SA) and Jarrod Freeman (Tasmania).
It represents the most notable influx of high-profile players into the NT season since Test pair David Warner and Cameron Bancroft took part in the 2018 Strike League while serving suspensions from international and interstate cricket.
Also signing up for the three-month sojourn, during which players will cover the cost of their flights to and from Darwin as well as daily living expenses, are BBL-listed players Mac Wright (Hobart Hurricanes) and Hayden Kerr (Sydney Sixers) along with a host of second XI and under-19 representatives.
The Cricket 365 program has been primarily designed to provide off-season opportunities for some of Australia's best emerging players, who make up a bulk of the imported talent.
But it also acts as a vehicle for established cricketers who are no longer able to travel overseas during the southern winter, are returning from lengthy injury lay-offs or looking to further their claims for places in the KFC BBL and other global T20 leagues.
Crucially, the concept allows players from neighbouring and southern states to engage in competitive cricket during winter without the additional cost and logistical issues associated with overseas travel.
"It has been wonderful to see the overwhelming positive response from State Associations and Players to Cricket 365," Cricket Australia's National Talent and Pathways Manager Graham Manou said today.
"We have said, and continue to believe, that it is vitally important to find ways for players to continue their development in a competitive environment.
"With such a high calibre of players involved this year, we expect the benefits of Cricket 365 to be far-reaching and we hope it sets a platform for others to benefit in years to come."
All Cricket 365 games will be live streamed, with the men's matches aired through Cricket Australia's Facebook channels thereby ensuring State and Territory coaches can monitor players' progress and allowing talent scouts to spot potential signings.
Nominations from interstate players have been lodged in consultation with Cricket Australia and their respective state high-performance managers, and each will be allocated to one of the 15-man Darwin limited-overs outfits - City Cyclones, Desert Blaze, Northern Tide and Southern Storm.
The make-up of those squads is expected to be announced in coming weeks.
Those teams will then compete in the TIO Men's One Day Series (20 June-July 25) and TIO T20 tournament (August 15-27) with the prospect of up to two additional teams taking part in the T20 competition (likely to be existing KFC BBL clubs).
In addition, between the two limited-overs competitions NT Cricket will host a three-match Top End One Day Series between a CA XI (comprising the interstate players in Darwin) and a combined team of NT-based players.
"We're delighted to have the support of Cricket Australia and every state cricket association around the country to launch Cricket 365 in June," NT Cricket Chief Executive Officer Joel Morrison said today.
"With a mix of Australian Test, state contracted and emerging young players signed up to play cricket across Darwin and Palmerston, the quality of cricket on display this dry season will be first class.
"It's an exciting time to be involved in cricket in the Territory, especially for our local players, coaches and match officials who will have the unique opportunity to mix with some of Australia's best cricketers in their own backyard."
Nominations for 2021 Cricket 365 Program
New South Wales: Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Mathew Gilkes, Ryan Hackney, Lachie Hearne, Hayden Kerr, Kurtis Patterson, Jason Sangha, Chris Tremain
Queensland: Hugo Burdon, Corey Hunter, Josh Kann, Noah McFadyen
South Australia: Isaac Conway, Max Hatzoglou, Isaac Higgins, Henry Hunt, Lloyd Pope, Jake Weatherald
Tasmania: Jarrod Freeman, Keegan Oates, Jack White, Mac Wright
Victoria: Dylan Brasher, Campbell Kellaway, Zac Sleeman, Callum Stow, Brodie Symons
Western Australia: Sam Fanning, Brad Hope, Corey Rocchiccioli