Two Englishmen who honed their skills in McDonald’s Premier Cricket, Mason Crane and Mark Stoneman, are in line to make their Test debuts next week.
Stoneman, 30 and Crane, 20, have been chosen by England with an eye to the coming season’s Ashes in Australia.
Both have been named in a 13-man squad for the first of three Tests against the West Indies, which will be England’s first day-night Test, beginning at Edgbaston next Thursday.
Crane dominated Premier Cricket last season, taking 51 First Grade wickets at an average of 21.06 with best figures of 7-53 and was named Player of the Match on four occasions. He tied with Gordon team mate Elliot Richtor for the O’Reilly Medal, awarded to the First Grade Player of the Year.
When Crane debuted against South Australia at the SCG the Hampshire leg-spinner became the first overseas cricketer to play for New South Wales since Imran Khan in 1984-85, taking five wickets for the match in a one-off appearance.
He was handed his NSW cap by former Australia leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, who worked closely with the Englishman last summer.
"I've bowled nearly 500 match overs out here, and there's really no substitute for that," Crane said at the end of his stint with Gordon. "I'll leave here very cricket-fit, and in great rhythm."
Despite this Hampshire left Crane languishing in their Second XI at the start of the English County season.
Stoneman has played six seasons of Grade cricket in Sydney going back to 2006/07, representing St George, Campbelltown-Camden and most recently Bankstown. His most recent season two summers ago was by far his best, scoring 699 runs at 63.55.
Crane and Stoneman are amongst a multitude of England players who have used Sydney Grade cricket to further their game including former England captains Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain, Mike Gatting, Geoff Boycott and Tony Greig.
Another England leg-spinner, Ian Salisbury, won the Bill O’Reilly Medal in 1999/2000.