THE cricket stars of tomorrow are this week taking the first steps of their representative careers.
Western Waves officials have started the selection process to put together squads for Cricket Victoria state championships this summer.
Thirty-four of the brightest under 14 cricketers took part in sessions at Action Indoor Sports Centre on Monday and at grounds across Warrnambool yesterday.
The Waves will have trial matches for the under 16s, at Hamilton, and under 18s, at Dunkeld, today and tomorrow.
Officials will stage further trials before announcing the squads on October 28.
Regional manager Stephen Field said the under 14 group showed promise that hinted at a strong showing against their state rivals in January.
Field said the introduction of Portland Country Week for under 13 cricketers across the south-west had helped highlight top talent. “It’s always a bit difficult to know how we’ll go,” he said.
“Last year it was the best group (of under 14s) we’ve had, they finished sixth out of the 16.
“Over the next couple of years they’ll continue to improve now we have the Portland under 13 Country Week.
“Associations have a better guide on how their boys are travelling.”
Field said improving the teenagers’ batting would be crucial if the Waves were to taste state success.
“Batting is always an area of concern if we’re going to be competitive,” he said.
“We need to do a lot of work with the batting and that comes down to a lot of repetition on an individual basis.”
John Pattison is coach of the under 14s, with Gordon McLeod his offsider.
John Houston is at the helm of the 16s and will have young gun Matt Gunter as his team manager and assistant coach.
Field and Brad Falkenberg have control of the 18s.
“Obviously kids develop at different levels but we have a fair idea about how the 16s and 18s are travelling,” Field said.
“Hopefully there are a few that just missed out last year and have worked on their games and can push for selection this year.”