Selection is complete for the NT Cricket Under 19 team that will journey to Perth to compete in the National Championships between 2-12 December.
The Territory will play NSW Metro in the first of its five-round, 50 over, pool set of matches before their two finals outings. Abbett Park (East), in the Perth suburb of Scarborough, will be the venue for the game.
NT Statewide Super Pathways Academy Coach Udara Weerasinghe will return as Under 19s coach and Tom Scollay will be his assistant. Adi Dave, playing in his second Under 19 Championship, will captain the team.
Weerasinghe confirmed the NT team will comprise eight Territory players with inclusions from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland coming in to make up the required 14 player squad.
“We picked our best players and then went through what we need to make a balanced squad,” Weerasinghe said.
“We have been able to get a couple of seamers and top order batsmen and a wicketkeeper/batsman to balance it out. Those included players are from interstate squads who didn’t quite make their own final cuts.”
“None of us have met the six players and won’t until we get to Perth. It’s kind of weird, but that has been one of the challenges we’ve had over the past few years.”
Also in the squad are three players who recently toured with the Under 17 team – Banjo Waring, Jayllen Naganayagam and Sam Elder. Each played with some success in Mackay, and are included based on that form and for future experience at the higher level.
As coach of the squad, Weerasinghe is aware of the level of cricket to be played and knows it will not be easy. But, he believes all the hard work has been done in that area and his main role is one of player management and building a positive environment.
“When you go to those carnivals, there is no way you can actually coach – it’s more about management and talking about playing good cricket,” he said.
“Tom (Scollay) or I don’t have any idea where the six included players are with their progression, so it’s a matter of watching, learning and managing the team. We want positive thoughts and good mindsets from all the players.”
“Many of our players have been to multiple nationals at various age groups so the environment will not be unknown to them – it is the level of cricket that may surprise because many of our opponents will be currently playing Premier Grade Cricket in their respective State competitions.”
Weerasinghe has a set of guidelines on playing the game and selection for matches at the Carnival.
“My expectations are for the players to be disciplined and play good cricket – wins and losses at that level will then look after themselves. Selection at the carnival will be based on performance and attitude.”