By Nick Creely
A string of local youngsters from the Dandenong District Cricket Association have been rewarded for their performances last season with selection in Cricket Victoria’s under-19 Male Emerging Performance Squad.
Buckley Ridges duo Ashley Chandrasinghe (Casey-South Melbourne) and Jono D’Rozario (Richmond) are among the locals picked in the squad after taking great strides in their development in 2019/20.
Rising youngster Chandrasinghe, who only recently starred for Waratah with 61 in the grand final in the Darwin cricket competition, was one of the biggest improvers at the Swans last season in the Premier Cricket competition, with the stylish opening batsman making his first XI debut and crunching an incredible 144 on debut against Northcote.
A highly-promising all-rounder, D’Rozario made his first XI debut last season and was incredibly impressive at representative level, scoring 161 runs and taking six wickets in the Under 19 National Championships last season.
Another product of the DDCA and the incredibly exciting development program from Richmond, Yash Pednekar from North Dandenong will also form part of the squad.
An incredibly exciting prospect, Pednekar has risen steadily through the development programs and will be looking to nail a permanent first XI after scoring 58 on debut against Dandenong last season.
Berwick Springs product Ashvin Adihetty – who has featured twice at first XI level with Casey-South Melbourne – and continues to develop strongly as a spinner, also took eight wickets in four games in an impressive carnival for the Southern Pioneers in the Under-18 Youth Premier League, and will push hard to lock in a spot in the Swans’ line-up this season. Berwick product Reiley Mark has also been named after an incredibly promising 2019/20 season.
From Dandenong, Luke Kranzbuhler and Angus Newman have been named, with the south-east pair developing steadily at Shepley Oval, with the pair set to push for first XI debuts in 2020/21
The squad – which is based on performances at club level, Youth Premier League and National Championships last season – has undertaken a series of virtual training sessions in recent months with Victorian high performances coaches; industry experts; and ex-international players Cam White, Clint McKay, Michael Beer and coach Greg Shipperd, while also tapping into the expertise of current stars Pete Handscomb, Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris to learn about life as a professional cricketer and spending long periods on the road.
Members of the squad are now in contention to represent Victoria in the Under-19 National Championships, which are planned to be staged in Adelaide in April, while sessions will also be moved to the CitiPower Centre when State Governmant and health advice allows.
“The way the players have embraced the program throughout the early stages is a reflection of their excellent attitude and eagerness to develop all elements of their game. We’re looking forward to hopefully utilising the full benefits of our facilities at the CitiPower Centre in the coming months,” Cricket Victoria’s Jarrad Loughman said.
“No official announcement has been made yet regarding the status of the National Championships but we are hopeful it’ll go ahead in April and provide an opportunity for Victorian players to test themselves against the country’s best underage talent.
“Ultimately we want to expose squad members to a range of quality cricket opportunities that provide both challenges and satisfaction, whilst complimenting their continued growth as young Victorian cricketers within club environments and their own individual skill development.”
Cricket Victoria has also announced its other emerging squads with the following locals named:
Under 19 Female Emerging Performance Squad
Jess Matin, Lucy Cripps and Tiana Atkinson (Dandenong)
Under 17 Male Emerging Performance Squad
Harkirat Bajwa (Narre South/Dandenong)
Jaxon Binns (Berwick)
Raheel Bostan (Lynbrook/Dandenong)
Nick Pastras (Berwick/Melbourne)
Under 16 Female Emerging Performance Squad
Uvindee Wijesena (Dandenong)
Emma Mole (Dandenong)
Abby Wrigglesworth (Dandenong)
Kethmi Ekanayake (Dandenong)
Poppy Gardner (Dandenong)
Yashonda Senarathne (Dandenong)
Matilda Pendergast (Dandenong)