By Nick Creely
Cricket Victoria (CV) has put the elite Youth Premier League tournament on hold for the 2020/21 season as cricket battles with the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
CV will now continue to work closely with affiliates to ensure local competitions get their respective seasons underway safely, with the state’s Premier Cricket competition and local competitions at best aiming for a mid-November return depending on government and public health restrictions at the time.
In terms of the development representative tournament – which hosts local outfits Southern Pioneers, South East Country Sharks and the Gippsland Pride – it has continued to see some excellent emerging cricketers go on to make an impact at Premier Cricket level, but CV and associations will look to create localised representative opportunities within the Victorian Metropolitan Cricket Union (VMCU) to ensure the best performing youngsters are given the chance to compete at a higher level.
“We’d like to thank our affiliates for their proactivity and understanding as we’ve confronted the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic,” Cricket Victoria CEO Andrew Ingleton said.
“Unfortunately circumstances won’t allow the Youth Premier League to take place this season, but we look forward to continuing to work closely with leagues to deliver representative opportunities where we can, while also providing access to our coaching and talent specialists.”
CV has committed to coaching and talent specialists identifying and nurturing promising male and female cricketers this season despite the cancellation.
CV has also confirmed that they will look to launch a new Youth Premier League pathway system ahead of the 2021/22 season that will continue to focus on providing statewide representative opportunities for emerging young players.
“The Youth Premier League is a vital avenue for developing cricketing talent throughout the state and we’ll use this time to refine the competition to ensure it provides an even more valuable platform when it returns,” Cricket Victoria’s high performance manager Dean Russ said.
As local cricket and Premier Cricket desperately look for a season-start date, which will be based on government advice and health restrictions, a mid to late November start is currently seen as the best care scenario with associations and clubs needing adequate time to prepare for the season.