Pope included in 10-man NP Squad

Under-19 World Cup star named in National Performance Squad to spend the winter in Brisbane

Louis Cameron

7 May 2018, 10:01 AM AEST

Cult hero Lloyd Pope has been recognised with selection in this year's National Performance Squad in an exclusive crop of the country's brightest talent.

Pope, who shot to prominence with the best figures in Under-19 World Cup history earlier this year in a mesmerising spell against England, is one of 10 young guns who will spend the winter at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

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South Australian Jake Weatherald, one of last summer's leading JLT Sheffield Shield batsmen with 765 runs at 38.25, is the most experienced player in the squad.

Weatherald, Western Australia opener Josh Phillippe, who struck 88 in an Ashes tour match against England last summer, and highly-rated Warriors teenager Cameron Green, who claimed a five-wicket haul on Shield debut as a 17-year-old in February 2017, are the three players in the squad with first-class experience.

Pacemen Ryan Hadley and Chad Sammut along with seaming allrounders Green, Jack Edwards and Jonathan Merlo start their winter program on Monday, with the remaining five NPS players to join them later this month.

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The NPS will embark on a trip to the MRF Academy in Chennai in July with a strong focus on spin and adapting to subcontinental conditions.

The squad will be mentored by former Test players Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris along with NPS head coach Troy Cooley.

Recent graduates of the program who have gone on to play for Australia include Alex Carey, Matthew Renshaw and Hilton Cartwright.

Cricket Australia has reduced the number of full-time NPS members – there were 18 last year – with additional groups of players to join the program for specialised skill components throughout the off-season instead.

The likes of Jason Sangha, Will Sutherland, Nick Winter, Param Uppal, Arjun Nair and Josh Inglis - all of whom played state or Big Bash cricket last season - have been picked in those specialist teams in the past.

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"This is an incredible opportunity for these players to utilise the state-of-the-art facilities at the Bupa National Cricket Centre, and to fast-track their development as cricketers," NPS head coach Troy Cooley said.

"Our aim is to build on the work done within state systems, and continue to develop the skills and values required to get these young men ready for international cricket.

"We have worked hard with the State Talent Managers to identify a targeted, smaller core group of players, who have displayed the on-field and off-field qualities we all are looking for.

"We are continuing to work closely with the State High Performance Programs, and this year will focus on bringing players in for the specialist components, as we look for the best way to maximise the effectiveness of the National Performance Program.

"It is all about giving players coming through our pathway the right development opportunities at the right time. We believe this program will help these players as they strive to one day represent Australia."

2018 Male National Performance Squad: Jack Edwards (NSW), Cameron Green (WA), Ryan Hadley (NSW), Baxter Holt (NSW), Nathan McSweeney (QLD), Jonathan Merlo (VIC), Joshua Philippe (WA), Lloyd Pope (SA), Chad Sammut (NSW), Jake Weatherald (SA).

Spin Program: Michael Cormack (SA), Thomas Engelbrecht (ACT), Daniel Fallins (NSW), Matt Kuhnemann (QLD), Arjun Nair (NSW), Thomas O'Connell (SA), Jason Sangha (NSW), Param Uppal (NSW)

Pace Program: Zak Evans (VIC), David Grant (SA), Spencer Johnson (SA), Mickey Edwards (NSW), David Moody (WA), Jack Prestwidge (QLD), Will Sutherland (VIC), Henry Thornton (NSW), Nick Winter (SA)

Fielding and Wicket-Keeping Program: Josh Inglis (WA), Matthew Gilkes (ACT), Austin Waugh (NSW), Lewin Maladay (QLD)