The National Youth Selection Panel has included four Victorians in a 14-man Australian Under-19 squad to tour New Zealand next month.
Having guided Victoria to the title at the recent Under-17 National Championships, Matt Short and Guy Walker were both included in the team of the tournament, with the latter also named player of the carnival, while Ben Ashkenazi was similarly recognised at the Under-19 carnival after claiming 15 wickets at 14.53.
Matt Fotia was also impressive throughout the Under-19 campaign taking the new ball.
The selected players recently took part in an Under-18 Talent Camp at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and did enough to secure a spot across the ditch.
“It’s a very exciting squad and follows on from our last two Under-19 programs, where we have been fortunate to have many quality players come through and earn national and state selection,” Cricket Australia National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said.
“Ashton Agar, for example, was in this group last year and has since played two tour matches for the Australians during their VB Tour of India.
“This squad contains a good blend of batting, bowling – both pace and spin bowling – and fielding.
“Each of the players selected have the talent to go on to play first-class cricket in Australia and this tour to New Zealand will provide them with the opportunity to develop their skills as they push for higher selection.
“It is a busy schedule this year for our emerging players, with Australia under-19 tours to New Zealand and India, as well as the one-day tri-series between Australia, NZ and India, which will expose them to conditions and challenges similar to those faced at international level.
“The challenge will be for these young cricketers to take something out this tour to New Zealand and to build their mental game, as well as their physical game.”
The squad will be guided by CA High Performance Coach Stuart Law, who also led the Australian side during the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup.
The Australian Under-19 squad is due to arrive in NZ on March 27 in time for the first match commencing on March 30.
Australian Under-19 tour to NZ schedule
March 30 to April 1: Australia v New Zealand (3-day match)
April 4: Australia v New Zealand (50-overs)
April 6: Australia v New Zealand (50-overs)
April 8: Australia v New Zealand (50-overs)
Australian Under-19 squad
Matthew Short (VIC), Damien Mortimer (NSW), Ben McDermott (QLD), Jake Doran (NSW), Jaron Morgan (WA), Kelvin Smith (SA), Sean Willis (TAS), Tom Andrews (NT), Joel Logan (NT), Guy Walker (VIC), Cameron Valente (SA), Ben Ashkenazi (VIC), Matthew Fotia (VIC) and Billy Stanlake (QLD).