Five of the finest young cricketers in New South Wales will represent the Australian Under 16 team in a six-match International Series against Pakistan at the newly developed Cricket Victoria CitiPower Centre at Junction Oval in Melbourne next week.
Those players include opening bowler Brad Simpson, aggressive top-order batsman Brock Larance, leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, fellow spinner Mac Jenkins and allrounder Hugh Sherriff.
Australia will play five 50-over matches and one Twenty20 match between 17-27 April at the Junction Oval complex.
The 14-member squad was selected following the 2017 School Sport Australia 15 & Under Boys National Championship.
Larance was the leading run-scorer during that tournament for the victorious NSW Green side. He posted 233 runs at 58.25. Jenkins and Sangha were also among the top 10 leading wicket takers with nine wickets a piece.
Former NSW Blues left-arm wrist spinner, now State Talent Manager of Cricket Performance, David Freedman, said that each of the five NSW players selected for the series bring different strengths.
The multi-talented Simpson from the Bankstown club, in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition, brings plenty of pace to the crease.
“Simpson is a very exciting fast bowling prospect … with the ability to bowl outswing at lively pace,” Freedman said.
“An outstanding athlete, he is also one of the top ranked 400 metre runners for his age in the country.”
Sherriff is an allrounder with what many would argue is the perfect combination – a middle-order batsman who can also bowl fast.
“Hugh is a very good all-round package from the Sydney Cricket Club,” said Freedman.
Sherriff was the equal leading wicket-taker in the 2017-18 AW Green Shield competition; a tournament considered by many to be the best under age competition anywhere in Australia.
He claimed 17 wickets at an average of 14.00 and the excellent economy rate of a tick over three.
“(He is a) bustling quick with the ability to generate pace and bounce from most surfaces.”
“(Sherriff is) also a dangerous middle-order bat with the ability to find the boundary and score his runs quickly.”
The hard-hitting Larance was an integral part of the successful NSW men’s team at the 2018 National Indigenous Championships in early February.
Surprisingly, however, it was with the ball he made his most valuable contribution. His off-spin returned 13 wickets at the incredible average of 8.62.
“(Larance is a batsman) who is always looking to move the game forward,” Freedman said.
“He bowls some more than handy off-spin and is an excellent fielder in any position.”
Sangha turns the ball the other way and plies his trade with the Campbelltown-Camden club in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket. He is a leg-spinner with many strings to his bow, according to Freedman.
“A fine prospect with a big turning stock ball, coupled with good control and variety.”
Freedman said the allrounder is also a stylish and compact middle-to-lower order batsman.
Sangha was the leading run-scorer for Campbelltown-Camden in the AW Green Shield this season. He finished the competition with 286 runs to his name at 47.67.
Sangha was also sixth on the list of leading run-scorers for the competition.
The series caps off a momentous season for Jenkins, who played his maiden First Grade match for Randwick-Petersham against Newcastle during the 2017-18 Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup.
“Mac is a very crafty and smart left arm orthodox bowler (who) bowls with impeccable control with subtle changes in flight and bounce,” Freedman said.
Freedman added that Jenkins was also a technically sound lower-order bat, which was shown throughout the AW Green Shield, where he scored a handy 187 runs at 46.75.
Australia and Pakistan have competed in numerous international series at Under-16 level in recent years.
Unlike the most recent series against Pakistan played in Dubai in early 2017, Australia will be looking to make the most of its home ground advantage after a 5-1 series defeat across three 50-over and three T20 matches at the ICC Academy last year.
The team will be coached by former Tasmanian Sheffield Shield captain, and prodigious First Class batsman, Dan Marsh.
Australia Under 16s Squad
Kyle Brazell SA
Jake Fraser-McGurk VIC
Campbell Griffiths VIC
Michael Herbst WA
Mac Jenkins NSW
Brock Larance NSW
Jet Liebke QLD
Mitchell Pascoe QLD
Yash Pednekar VIC
Samuel Rahaley SA
Suraj Rajesh SA
Tanveer Sangha NSW
Hugh Sheriff NSW
Brad Simpson NSW
Coach: Dan Marsh
Assistant Coach: Mark Cameron
Australia Under 16s Series v Pakistan - Fixtures
April 17 - 1st Youth ODI
April 19 - 2nd Youth ODI
April 21 - 3rd Youth ODI
April 24 - 4th Youth ODI
April 26 - 5th Youth ODI
April 27 - 1st Youth T20