5:00am Thursday 14th February 2013
By Simon Walter
THIS is one of the four Australian batsmen who will be allocated to Southern Electric Premier League clubs by the Ageas Bowl International Cricket Academy tomorrow night.
William Bosisto, 19, captained Australia to last year’s Under-19 World Cup final, a tournament in which he led from the front by topping the batting averages with a phenomenal 276 runs – at 276. Scott Henry (New South Wales), Travis Head (South Australia), and Alex Keath (Victoria) will also be playing SEPL cricket this summer, with Bournemouth CC, Lymington CC, Totton & Eling CC and Ventnor CC all set to benefit.
The SEPL quartet have all requested a batsman, so Henley CC (Home Counties Premier League ) or Chichester Priory Park CC (Sussex Premier League), will snap up arguably the most eye-catching of the academy’s inaugural intake – a member of Australia’s Test squad.
Slow left-armer Ashton Agar has only played two first-class matches but has been fast-tracked into Australia’s 18-man Test squad in India. He took 1-27 in a two-day draw against an Indian Board President’s XI in Chennai this week, having put on hold a law degree to concentrate on cricket. Like former Ventnor star Danny Briggs, he has been likened to Daniel Vettori.
Agar and his Western Australia teammate Ashton Turner, a 20-year-old off-spinner who shone at last year’s U19 World Cup, will be travelling to Oxfordshire or Sussex to play for clubs in need a bowler to fill their overseas berth.
So it is the four batsmen who will be spending their summer playing as well as training in Hampshire. Henry, 24 today, is a left-handed opening batsman who scored a match-winning 207 not out against Sri Lanka for a Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI two months ago. He has a f-c average of 23.7 from nine matches.
Left-hander Head, 19, averages 28.7 from 11 f-c matches, his top score an unbeaten 95 against a Western Australia attack led by Mitchell Johnson in November. He is also a wicketkeeper but will be concentrating on his batting this summer.
It is more than two years since Keath made 46 on his Victoria debut against England’s victorious Ashes squad at the MCG. Batting at three, he impressed against an attack including Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Monty Panesar before he was caught behind against Paul Collingwood’s medium pace.
A year earlier, he had given up a potentially lucrative Aussie Rules career. “Money was never part of the decision, it was about what I love," he explained. Now 21, he has scored just 53 runs in the five f-c matches he has played since his debut. But on Monday he again starred against an England touring team, hitting a 55-ball 60 as a Victoria XI beat the Lions by four wickets.
All-rounder Keath, a right-hander who bowls medium pace, has also played in a T20 Big Bash semi-final, for the Melbourne Stars alongside Shane Warne and Dimi Mascarenhas, albeit in a heavy defeat against the Perth Scorchers at the WACA last month. The six players will be allocated in a draw at the Ageas Bowl at 6pm tomorrow.
Hampshire Cricket Chairman, Rod Bransgrove said; “The players involved have all been hand-selected by Cricket Australia for having great potential so will inevitably raise the standard of club cricket within the county and surrounding area.
“In addition, they have all earned coaching qualifications to a high standard and will, therefore, add a great deal above and beyond their on-field skills. We look forward to welcoming them in April.”
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