By Nick Creely
Cricket Victoria (CV) has confirmed plans to stage an underage Premier Cricket competition in a major boost for the talent pathway
system in the state.
As announced by CV earlier this month, the statewide Youth Premier League carnivals for Under 16 boys and Under 15 girls were suspended this season until 2021/22, but will
continue to support its associations and affiliates in maintaining representative playing opportunities for talented young cricketers.
CV has announced this year’s Premier Clubs will stage a five-round under-16 competition for boys and a three-day under-18 competition for girls to provide additional opportunities for young players.
The re-introduction of a Premier Cricket-aligned underage competition is a major boost for the state after recommendations from a strategy review highlighting the need for a stronger connection between community cricket, CV-administered youth pathways and Premier Cricket.
This season, there is set to be other representative opportunities through the Victorian Country Cricket League (VCCL), Victorian Metropolitan Cricket Union (VMCU) and Victorian Sub District Cricket Association
(VSDCA) carnivals, as well as events run by CV such as the under 17 Male CV Emerging Players Program tournament to be held in Hamilton and under 16 Female CV Emerging Players Program tournament to be held in Wodonga, both in January.
From the 2021/22 season onwards, however, CV’s board and management have endorsed a youth pathway that creates clear connections for boys and girls from club cricket to the Premier level.
The pathway will commence at association level rep cricket, into the Youth Premier League and then transitioning into Premier Cricket through its underage competition.
Cricket Victoria chair David Maddocks said it was vitally important to foster the talent emerging within the state.
“From 2021-22 we’ll deliver a performance pathway that makes it simpler for players, parents, clubs and associations and our talent identification staff to build and develop our talent pipeline in Victoria,” he said.
“We respect that a lot of work goes into this space at all levels and we want to support that, see it grow and ensure it continues to deliver fantastic results for players and for the next generation of Victorian players.”
Cricket Victoria high performance manager and champion Premier cricketer Dean Russ said the new model put Victoria on the right path for the future.
“Cricket is operating in a seriously competitive sporting environment in Victoria with all the other codes vying for talent,” he said.
“It’s incumbent on us to ensure the pathway we provide is as clear and concise as it can possibly be. In doing so we set ourselves up to find the next Meg Lanning or Aaron Finch of the future.”