Australia’s domestic cricket season kicks off with a bang on October 1 with the first match of the Matador Cup One Day competition.
Last Word On Sports has you covered with all you need to know about each team’s chances this year, starting with Victoria.
The Bushrangers finished second last season but failed to make the final against eventual winners New South Wales after being bundled out by third placed South Australia in the Elimination game.
With captain Matthew Wade on national duties, young star Peter Handscomb has been named to lead the 14-man squad after an impressive stint captaining the Australia A side in recent Winter fixtures.
The side certainly has a young feel to it, with possible debutant fast bowlers Jackson Coleman and Matt Doric named after stellar seasons in the Premier League.
The path has been opened for the rookies by injury and national selection to the bulk of Victoria’s fast bowling firepower, with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson (injury) and Scott Boland, John Hastings and Chris Tremain (national duties) all unavailable for the tournament.
This will shift the focus of the Bushrangers’ bowling attack to their healthy spinning stocks.
Seasoned left-arm tweaker Michael Beer joins Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland in a tantalizing frontline spin attack, while the ever dynamic Glenn Maxwell and oft-maligned Cameron White will serve as envious back-up options to ensure that spinning webs around their opposition will be a main tactical focus for the tournament.
Marcus Harris, who impressed in last year’s Matador Cup with the inaugural Cricket Australia XI team, joins Maxwell as boom batting recruits sure to bolster a top-order featuring the likes of Dan Christian, Rob Quiney and Marcus Stoinis.
Back-up keeper and big hitter Aaron Ayre and all-rounder Ian Holland round off one of the stronger and more balanced squads of the tournament.
The surprising depth of this young squad should see it do well yet again, with big totals and quick over rates likely to be the flavour of their matches.
The Bushrangers kick off their tournament against South Australia at the WACA on October 5.
With the quick fire format of the Matador Cup (six games followed by finals), early wins will be a necessity. This squad has the talent to win and win well throughout the entirety, and should make the elimination stages easily. From there they’ll have to overcome raging favourites New South Wales, and with big game players like Maxwell and Christian on hand along with the steady influence of the metronomic Handscomb at the wheel, anything is possible.
Fawad Ahmed, Aaron Ayre, Michael Beer, Dan Christian, Jackson Coleman, Matt Doric, Peter Handscomb (c), Marcus Harris, Ian Holland, Jon Holland, Glenn Maxwell, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron White