JLT One-Day Cup 2017
JLT Cup squad preview: CA XI
The best of domestic cricket's rising talent is out to put their names in lights and prove a few points this summer
26 September 2017, 01:03 PM AEST
The squad: Max Bryant (QLD), Jake Carder (WA), Jackson Coleman (VIC), Daniel Fallins (NSW), David Grant (SA), Clint Hinchliffe (WA), Jonathan Merlo (VIC), Harry Nielsen (SA), Ben Pengelley (SA), Mark Steketee (QLD), Henry Thornton (NSW), Param Uppal (NSW), Beau Webster (TAS), Mac Wright (TAS)
Possible starting XI: More difficult than most to pick as all squad members will likely be played at some point in the tournament, while fitness and workloads will also be considerations that impact selection. But, if we were to speculate, they could line up with something like this: Carder, Bryant, Webster, Uppal, Hinchliffe, Pengelley, Thornton, Nielsen (wk), Fallins, Steketee, Grant.
Who they're missing: For this squad it's more a case of 'who they've gained' with players on the fringe of state selection providing a boon for the young squad. Queenslander Mark Steketee and Tasmania's Beau Webster – both aged 23 – are being called the "veterans" and are the group's most experienced players. Just two players from last year's CA XI team return for this season: WA's Jake Carder and South Australia's David Grant. But you'd expect a high turnover in a development squad. The most pleasing thing for Australian cricket is the progression of players into state – and in the case of former CA XI player Hilton Cartwright – international ranks. Seven of last year's CA XI are playing with their state sides in this tournament: Western Australia's Will Bosisto and Josh Inglis, Victoria's Sam Harper and Matt Short, New South Wales' Ryan Gibson and Arjun Nair, and Queensland's Brendan Doggett.
The inside word with coach Matthew Elliott: "We're in it to compete really hard, we're in it to surprise a few people this year. When you give this opportunity to a young group there's a few who can amaze you in terms of what they can do. We've got a really talented younger group of guys that haven't quite made their state squad. Now they've got an opportunity and some of them have got a point to prove. They don't need any motivation going into the competition. They want to get not just onto state contract lists, but they want to get into teams, and this is a great opportunity to showcase what they can do."
The talking point: Can the CA XI be competitive, and who will be the next big star to emerge? In two previous seasons the CA XI has won just the one match (against Tasmania), but did fall narrowly short of a major upset against NSW last season. And if Elliott's assertion they will "surprise a few people" proves true this time around, it would silence any lingering naysayers about the validity of a developmental side in the competition.
The 2016 result: Largely irrelevant with such a changed group this season, but in 2016 the CA XI went winless. It was a mixed bag – Ryan Gibson hit the CA XI's first century in their opening match, a narrow loss to Queensland, and they fell just four runs short of chasing down NSW's 6-328. But there were also some lopsided results, like the 7-420 conceded to South Australia and being bowled out for 153 by Victoria.
The young gun: In a squad full of young guns, the teenagers in contention for next year's Under-19 World Cup stand to gain plenty from this tournament. Highly-rated NSW batsman Param Uppal and big-hitting opener Max Bryant can expect to feature regularly while Victorian seam-bowling allrounder Jonathan Merlo is the only player in the squad without a state contract. For a more immediate impact, look to young leg-spinner Dan Fallins to be a wicket-taking threat. Reports are he gives it an almighty rip and has spent his winter honing the art with the National Performance Squad.
The pressure on: Steketee, Webster and Grant were last men cut from their state sides and will be keen to show their respective list managers why they were wrong with some big performances, particularly when coming up against their home states.
27 September v South Australia at Allan Border Field, Brisbane
29 September v Queensland at Allan Border Field, Brisbane
8 October v New South Wales at Hurstville Oval, Sydney
10 October v Victoria at Hurstville Oval, Sydney
13 October v Tasmania at Hurstville Oval, Sydney
17 October v Western Australia at North Sydney Oval, Sydney