JLT Sheffield Shield 2018-19
Teens burst onto scene for new season
Up to six teenagers - five of them on debut - could feature in today's opening round of Sheffield Shield cricket
16 October 2018, 08:21 AM AEST
Today's opening day of JLT Sheffield Shield action offers a tantalising glimpse into the future of Australian cricket as the next generation of talent arrive en masse into the first-class system.
Six teenagers could be in action for their states today, with five eyeing off Shield debuts. All five potential debutants featured in the Australia U19 side that reached the final of this year's U19 World Cup in New Zealand.
Live coverage: Cricket Network match centre
The NSW Blues boast two of the most exciting prospects in allrounder Jack Edwards and batsman Jason Sangha, both of whom played key roles in that U19 tournament. Sangha has two first-class games to his name, having played in the Cricket Australia XI sides against the touring England squad ahead of last summer's Ashes series, notching a century in Townsville.
They could find themselves facing up against Australia U19 teammate Lloyd Pope, the flame-haired leg-spinner who shot to fame in the tournament with an incredible spell of bowling that skittled England's next generation.
Pope has been included in the South Australia squad for the match at Adelaide Oval with Adam Zampa absent following his recall to Australia's T20 squad that will play Pakistan in the UAE.
The Queensland Bulls have two teenagers in their squad, with big-hitting top-order batsman Max Bryant and middle-order off-spinning allrounder Nathan McSweeney in line for debuts.
Bryant made a splash with his exploits for Queensland in this summer's JLT One-Day Cup, and looks set to rival Joe Burns for a spot in the Brisbane Heat's 'Bash Brothers'.
That pair could find themselves opening the batting for the Bulls in their match-up with Tasmania at the Gabba in a replay of last season's Shield final.
Western Australia's Cameron Green is the only teenager to have already played Shield cricket, making a stunning entry into first-class cricket as a 17-year-old in February 2017, when he became the youngest player to take a Sheffield Shield five-wicket haul on debut, claiming 5-24 against Tasmania.
Cricket Australia's Pathways Manager Graham Manou, the former South Australia wicketkeeper who played one Test on the 2009 Ashes tour, hailed the arrival of the teen talent to first-class ranks.
"It's really pleasing to see a number of our rising stars in line to make their Sheffield Shield debuts," Manou told cricket.com.au.
"Our Australia Under 19 squad reached the final at the U19 World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year, and following that two players – Param Uppal and Jarrod Freeman – made their Sheffield Shield debuts.
"Having another five potential debutants from our World Cup squad in the opening round of this year's Sheffield Shield highlights not only the talent within that group, but also the hard work those players have put in to make the step up from being elite underage cricketers to being ready to compete with and against some of the best players in the country."
The new generation enter Shield cricket with the words of Australia's Test squad batting coach Graeme Hick ringing in their ears, who in praising Usman Khawaja's epic Dubai century, cautioned against wasting opportunities at the domestic level.
"There's a definitely been a big shift in the way batters are going about their first-class cricket now," Hick told reporters after Australia batted out the fifth day to earn a memorable draw against Pakistan in the UAE.
"That is one big difference (to previous eras) – if you're averaging 35 rather than 45, you're spending a lot less time out in the middle. We all know that the best place to learn is out in the middle.
"At state level, at club level, wherever you play, the best place to learn is out in the middle so don't waste those opportunities.
"As you come up to Test cricket, having to bat for four, five and six hours, it takes a hell of a lot. If you don't learn to do that in the earlier systems and the earlier cricket you're playing, don't expect to do it when you suddenly pitch up in Test cricket.
"If you're playing Shield cricket and you have opportunities to bat all day … your innings ebbs and flows throughout the day. If you don't do that there, and try to do it in Test cricket for the first time under that pressure and in that environment that 'Uzzie' (Khawaja) did, it's just not going to happen.
"Maybe those opportunities are wasted at times with the way players are playing – a far more attacking or aggressive game these days (as opposed to) 15 or 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago."
Queensland v Tasmania opens the new Shield season at the Gabba from 10am local time in Brisbane, while South Australia host NSW at the Adelaide Oval from 10.30am local time.
Western Australia host Victoria at the WACA from 10.30am local (1.30pm AEST) and all matches will be live streamed on the CA Live app and cricket.com.au.
Sheffield Shield Round 1 squads
NSW Blues: Peter Nevill (c), Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Stephen O'Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha
South Australia: Jake Lehmann (c), Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Conor McInerney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Lloyd Pope, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter
Western Australia: Ashton Turner (c), William Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Simon Mackin, David Moody, Josh Philippe, Usman Qadir, Marcus Stoinis, Jonathon Wells.
Victoria: Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Jackson Coleman, Travis Dean, Andrew Fekete, Seb Gotch, Peter Handscomb (c), Marcus Harris, Will Pucovski, Matt Short, Chris Tremain, Cameron White
Queensland: James Peirson (c), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Luke Feldman, Peter George, Sam Heazlett, Charlie Hemphrey, Nathan McSweeney, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Sam Truloff, Jack Wildermuth
Tasmania: George Bailey (c), Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Matthew Wade, Beau Webster