Cricket Victoria has announced the 2017 Futures League Academy Winter Training Squad, featuring 21 of Victoria’s best emerging talents.
This season, Victorian selectors have opted for a much younger side compared to recent years, with a focus on developing their skills and preparing them for first-class cricket.
Just four members – Aaron Ayre, Ben Abbatangelo, Liam Banthorpe and Liam Bowe – from this year’s squad have completed the winter academy previously.
After the Bushrangers made history last season by becoming the first Victorian side ever to win three Sheffield Shield titles in a row, Victorian Chairman of Selectors Andrew Lynch is placing one eye on the future to keep Victoria at the forefront of Australian domestic cricket.
“The side we’ve picked for the winter training program this year is much younger than we’ve previously had, which is a big part of our strategy going forward,” said Lynch.
“We’re looking to bring these talented young players through our system, which we have a lot of faith in and has proven to be successful in the past, and prepare them as best we can for future possibilities at first-class level.”
Bowe is one example of the proven success of the Victorian system, who went on to feature for the Melbourne Stars during the 2016-17 Big Bash season as a replacement player.
Fellow 2016 Futures League squad member Will Pucovski also shot to fame after breaking the Under-19 National Championships tournament run scoring record, and subsequently earned a first-class debut for the Bushrangers at the MCG in February 2017.
Nick Boland, younger brother of current Victorian fast bowler Scott Boland, has also earned a spot in the training squad, and is one of three indigenous players named overall (Boland, Abbatangelo and Damon Egan).
The squad will train together at the MCG throughout winter under the tutelage of Victoria’s high performance coaches, including David Hussey and Mick Lewis.
Coaching the side for his second season, Hussey has a clear structure in mind to keep the squad busy over the winter and prepared for the season ahead.
“It’s great to be able to bring the squad together during the winter, which gives us plenty of time to work on developing their skills and techniques for both batting and bowling,” said Hussey.
“We’ll hit the ground running towards the end of June and it’ll be good to finally get back into the swing of things.”
Players will complete numerous sessions between June and September, which will be a combination of skills, strength and conditioning, and performance management sessions.
The program commences on Thursday 22 June.
2017 Futures League Academy – Winter Squad
Ben Abbatangelo (Northcote)
Aaron Ayre (Essendon)
Liam Banthorpe (Fitzroy Doncaster)
Nick Boland (Frankston-Peninsula)
Liam Bowe (Essendon)
Damon Egan (St. Kilda)
Sam Elliott (Fitzroy-Doncaster)
Zak Evans (Ringwood)
Jack Gilbert (St. Kilda)
Mackenzie Harvey (Carlton)
Adam McMaster (Dandenong)
Jon Merlo (St. Kilda)
Zac Mevissen (Melbourne)
Jackson Mockett (Frankston-Peninsula)
Nathan Murphy (Melbourne)
Ed Newman (Dandenong)
Blake Parsons (Prahran)
Mitch Perry (Monash Tigers)
Paddy Rowe (Melbourne)
Tom Rogers (Melbourne University)
Matthew Underwood (Footscray-Edgewater)