Victoria's Jonathan Merlo is one of ten emerging Australian cricketers to have been selected for Cricket Australia’s 2018 Male National Performance Squad (NPS).
The group will be based at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane from May until early September, working with Bupa National Performance Program Head Coach Troy Cooley and Bupa High Performance Coaches Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers.
Players are chosen by the CA Youth Selection Panel in conjunction with State Talent Managers.
The aim of the program is to add the development of players who could potentially represent Australia within the next two-to-five years.
This year, the program shifts to a full-time group of 10 players from a full-time group of 18 in 2017, with additional groups of players to join the program for specialist skill components focused on spin (28 May – 22 June), fielding and wicket-keeping (8 – 17 August) and pace bowling (19 – 31 August).
Victorian’s Zak Evans and Will Sutherland will take part in the pace bowling program in August, while Merlo will start the program today.
Cricket Australia’s National Performance Program Head Coach, Troy Cooley, said:
“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,” 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.”
Additional to the skills components in Brisbane, the program will also see players participate in a boot camp in late June, aiming to build resilience and adaptability.
This will be followed by a tour to the MRF Academy in Chennai in late July, designed for players to implement the learnings from the spin component of the program in sub-continent conditions.
The program concludes in early September, with the squad set to compete against states in pre-season matches.
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)