After being dropped from England’s Ashes team, struggling all-rounder Moeen Ali has been battling away for his County side Worcestershire.
With the announcement of all the updated squad lists for the upcoming 2018-19 cricket season, the focus on youth and success in the Futures League is really prominent.
It gives young cricketers playing first grade in their state’s premier cricket competition hope that if they perform well for their club consistently enough, regardless of age or representative background, opportunities are available.
I really hope Cricket Australia stick with the CA XI for the One-Day Cup in a few months’ time. I know this development side has copped some stick for not being competitive, however this is unwarranted.
The side has produced a plethora of state players and a single Australian Test and ODI representative, in Western Australia’s Hilton Cartwright.
More importantly, this tournament serves as a prime opportunity for fringe players to put their hand up for World Cup selection in 2019.
Even though the wickets and conditions in Australia are vastly different to those we expect in England and Wales next year, if you make runs or take wickets, you are putting your name in front of the selectors.
The player I’m really looking forward to watching is new Victorian signing Tom O’Connell, a right-arm legspinner from South Australia, who turned down an SA contract to sign a multi-year deal with the formerly-known Bushrangers.
Obviously with Australian ODI and T20 representative Adam Zampa and Australian U19 star Lloyd Pope the frontline leggies for the Redbacks, it does make sense to look elsewhere.
Despite averaging over 30 with the ball for SA in last season’s U19 national championships, O’Connell managed 13 wickets from eight matches for the Southern Force in the West End Redbacks Cup, along with dominating West End men’s first grade for Sturt CC.
Taking 47 wickets from 13 matches at an average of 19.43 (including a pair of five-wicket hauls) shows there’s something special there, and hopefully the Redbacks give him a run.