SOUTH West Cricket (SWC) captain Todd Lamont believes opportunities abound for his representative cricketers at the Western Waves Festival of Cricket.
Lamont is at the helm of what is an understrength SWC side for division one of the Twenty20 tournament at Hamilton this weekend.
But while acknowledging the challenge that awaits, Lamont said the lack of top-line players in the squad gave others the chance to impress selectors.
Gus Bourke, Matt Bignell, Coby Dudman, Chris Vogels, Paul Vogels and Jake Reed will make their top grade debuts for SWC at Hamilton.
“It’ll give us an indication for Country Week (in February). This is a stepping stone for potentially being selected at Country Week,” Lamont said.
He said he did not “begrudge” the players who had made themselves unavailable.
But he said a perception of the tournament being “a weekend off” had to change if the side was to claim a breakthrough victory.
“It seems to be the case now — the last three years we haven’t had a lot of interest among our top players wanting to play,” he said.
“I think a lot of them see it as a weekend off, a chance to do something else, whether it’s the races or spending time with the family or silage — it is hay season.
“It’s too early in the year to have it now. We’ve only played three matches. When we had it in December, we had a few more available, but still not everyone.”
Lamont said he was upbeat about the youthful exuberance in the side.
He highlighted fielding as a strength but was adamant the side had to bat out its 20 overs in its three matches.
“Keeping early wickets will be the key,” he said.