Right across the nation the signs are encouraging that talent is emerging to take world cricket by storm in the next decade. We rate the most talented.
Right across the nation the signs are encouraging that talent is emerging to take world cricket by storm in the next decade. We rate the most talented.

The best young cricketers from every state

Aussie cricket's thirst for an all-rounder star looks set to be quenched. But it won't stop there, with generation next ready to deliver a goldmine of talent in the coming years.

The next crop of stars are set to answer the questions of who can be Australia's next great all-rounder, the future of the batting line-up - and even a powerhitting keeper-batsmen likened to South Africa dynamo Quinton de Kock.

What was once a search to get an Aussie Andrew Flintoff has morphed into finding a local version of Ben Stokes, after the England star's iconic Ashes performances last year. Talent managers around the country believe he's been found: his name is Cameron Green.

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There's also the Matthew Hoggard clone already making a serious impact on Shield cricket, who a former Aussie quick believes has hundreds of first-class wickets in his future - ensuring Australia's fast bowling reserves are well-stocked for the future.

And while no one is pushing the likes of Steve Smith, Tim Paine or David Warner out the door, and 26-year-old Marnus Labuschagne and the four-pronged bowling attack still have great heights to hit, across the nation the signs are encouraging that talent is emerging to take over in the next decade.

Here's the best talent from around the country under the age of 23.

 

QUEENSLAND

 

Bryce Street

Built low to the ground like David Warner, this 22-year-old takes a very different approach to the explosive Test opener when it comes to compiling his innings.

"He's old school. He'll bat time, he'll pick you apart slowly and he can score runs in difficult conditions and against good bowling," said Queensland assistant coach James Hopes.

"He just doesn't get phased by any situation really. He's been a 21-year-old opening batter at the Gabba, which isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, and he's had success doing it.

"I've heard it called the Alastair Cook theory - he just scores runs wherever he plays."

 

Xavier Bartlett

The first time James Hopes laid eyes on Xavier Bartlett he pulled the young quick aside and told him 'you bowl like Matthew Hoggard'.

The reference to England's 2005 Ashes hero fell flat on the young Queenslander and prompted a moment of self-reflection for Hopes who vowed to find some more up-to-date examples to connect to the state's young stars.

But the fact remains: Barlett is a player of serious potential who Hopes believes "will take hundreds of first-class wickets".

Bowling in the high 130s, the 21-year-old's impact is already being felt at Sheffield Shield level - he claimed his maiden five-wicket haul against Victoria in February, and has started the summer in stunning form taking match figures of 8-96 against Tasmania.

"He is a ready-made first-class bowler," Hopes said.

 

"His pace increase from last year to this year is substantial.

 

"And of all the Queensland bowlers, including (Test hopeful) Michael Neser, he's up there in the category of most skilful that we have in the way he can position the seam, the different things he can do with the ball.

"He's a good flat wicket bowler, good seaming wicket bowler - he can swing it both ways. He's exceptional.

Willans has no trouble creating bounce.
Willans has no trouble creating bounce.

Matthew Willians

Meet the tallest bloke in Australian cricket. Thought it might be the 204cm Billy Stanlake, didn't you? Nope. Willans already looks down on his state teammate, and the 19-year-old is still growing.

A left-armer who gets steepling bounce, Willans' coaches have actually had to pull the youngster back from trying to bowl too fast.

"He's substantially quicker than he was last year. But you see him trying to keep up (with their pace) and we've got to rein him in and say 'mate, if you hit 130-135, that's plenty quick at your height'," said Hopes.

 

Jack Clayton

The last time Australia had a left-handed top-order batsman who was red-green colour blind, he went on to play 25 Tests.

But Jack Clayton is no Chris Rogers clone - he's a little easier on the eye and has more of a classical technique than the current Victoria head coach.

Clayton's development took a turn when he pursued an AFL career with the Brisbane Lions academy, but he's making up for lost time by plundering centuries in grade cricket.

Queensland has some batting depth, but Clayton could get a chance this summer with the likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Burns on national duty.

 

Connor Sully

 

Bowls with genuine raw pace - regularly hitting 140km/h - and seems to do it effortlessly, like a young Brett Lee. And, like Lee, Sully has some serious lower-order hitting ability as well.

He's still growing into his body and is a way off getting a look at four-day cricket, but should only get faster in the coming years and could be a scary prospect down the track.

"He's massive and he might have some more growing to do. He's a good athlete and a very, very exciting prospect," says Hopes.

 

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Cameron Green

Green needs little introduction following his blistering form to start the Sheffield Shield season. He's been described by former national selector Greg Chappell as the best youngster to emerge since the great Ricky Ponting - and that's just the start.

The 21-year-old, who peeled off a stunning 197 against a NSW attack featuring Test star Nathan Lyon last month, has so many weapons in his arsenal that it's no surprise he was touted as a Test bolter last summer - and seems odds on to get a call-up in the coming series against India.

A top-level batting prospect, the 184cm Green is also a dangerous seam bowling - taking 5-24 in his first class debut - and an athletic fielder.

All in all, he's the best youngster in the country.

"He could be one of the game's more exciting all-rounders, really," says Cricket Australia's national talent manager Graham Manou.

"He's a guy that offers four skillsets - bat, ball, in the field and I've no doubt he'll continue to develop as a leader. What we've seen is the players of his age group tend to follow him, which can only be a good thing."

 

Aaron Hardie

This England-born all-rounder is another turning heads in Western Australia, hitting a maiden first-class century against Queensland in just his third Sheffield Shield clash last summer.

The level-headed 21-year-old has been earmarked as a future skipper of Western Australia.

"He's always flourished with leadership roles," says Manou.

"He's someone they have very, very high hopes of."

 

 

NEW SOUTH WALES

 

Jason Sangha

Has been touted as a future Test batsman since he burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old, but NSW talent manager David Freeman believes he's a far more complete batsman now.

An aesthetically pleasing batsman to watch, Sangha has beautiful footwork and soft hands - and is one of the best players of spin coming through.

"He's becoming an attractive package - and we've got high hopes that he'll realise his potential," said Freeman.

 

Jack Edwards

The first time you lay eyes on Edwards, you'd be forgiven for thinking he might be a future member of the Australian pace attack.

The 20-year-old is a giant of a man, but he won't be taking the new ball any time soon - he's an out-and-out top-order batsman, with his bowling a neat skill to complement his hitting qualities.

Had notched centuries in both first-class and domestic one-day cricket while still a teenager and looks a fine white-ball batsman of the future with his ability to hit the long-ball a major asset.

"He's an exciting package - you can't deny the skillset he's got," says NSW talent manager David Freeman.

Tanveer Sangha is a promising leg spinner. Picture: Brett Costello
Tanveer Sangha is a promising leg spinner. Picture: Brett Costello

Tanveer Sangha

The drums are beating loudly for Tanveer Sangha, who was described last year by former Test tweaker Kerry O'Keeffe as 'the real deal'.

Calm and confident, Sangha has been ripping up Sydney's premier cricket competition for the past two summers despite his inexperience.

Can turn the ball square and land it on a dime, but Freeman is most excited by the aggressive streak in his bowling.

 

"He just loves the contest. In our pre-season, he loves bowling to Moises (Henriques) and Kurtis (Patterson) and never shies away from the challenge.

 

"A lot of young legspinners would struggle to cope mentally with that but he always wants the ball in his hands. He's going to be very special I reckon."

 

Arjun Nair

Nair has emerged after some painful years where, after being reported for having a suspect action, he endured injury-hit summers with a back complaint.

Nair was a mainstay of the underage representative teams, starring primarily as a batsman, but it is with a reworked action as a crafty off-spinner that makes him a dangerous T20 proposition.

 

Matthew Gilkes

Ever since Adam Gilchrist changed the game, wicketkeepers have been required to not only be sharp behind the stumps - they've also got to know how to clear the fences.

Matthew Gilkes has certainly answered the call on that front.

A nuggety power-hitter who has been likened to South Africa slugger Quinton de Kock, this elegant left-hander is developing into the sort of batsman who wouldn't look out of place in the national team in the next few years.

"He's very easy on the eye and reminds me a bit of Quinton de Kock from South Africa," says Freeman.

"He's a potential matchwinner the way he goes about his batting."

 

Baxter Holt

If Gilkes is in the Gillchrist/de Kock mould, Baxter Holt is more following the path trodden by Ian Healy and Tim Paine.

He's one of the cleanest glovemen in the country and has already been earmarked as the natural successor to former Test keeper Peter Nevill at NSW.

"He's a silky gloveman and a really innovative batter," says Freeman of the 21-year-old who made his first class debut last year.

 

VICTORIA

 

Will Pucovski

The next decade or so looks extremely bright for Will Pucovski, who was on the verge of Test selection last summer and has admirers at the very top of Australian cricket - from Ponting to Langer to Chappell and everyone in between.

He averages 51 since making his Shield debut in 2017, and has shown a penchant for big daddy hundreds - like his monstrous 243 against Western Australia that triggered a call-up to the Test squad or his unbeaten 255 against South Australia last weekend.

It's a matter of when, not if, Pucovski takes the next step in his career and becomes a mainstay in the top six of the Test team.

"Most people would be able to see the obvious talent," says Manou.

"What I like both of he and Cameron Green is that they're matchwinners. They both understand their games extremely well and for young guys have very mature heads on their shoulders.

"So far they've proven very capable of managing expectation to go alongside the perceived talent and some of the accolades coming their way of what they're projected to become."

 

Will Sutherland

Standing at 195cm tall, Sutherland is an outstanding all-round prospect who can dominate games with both bat and ball.

Despite being just 21, he's cemented his place as one of Victoria's key players - playing all three formats since his List A debut in 2017.

The son of former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, Will has primarily impacted games with the ball to date - taking a career-best 6-67 against South Australia last summer.

But Cricket Victoria insiders believe he has enormous untapped potential as a batsman, which we could start to see this summer.

Jake Fraser-McGurk is a young man with a big future ahead of him.
Jake Fraser-McGurk is a young man with a big future ahead of him.

Jake Fraser-McGurk

Fraser-McGurk emerged last summer as a future white-ball star, with a pair of electric knocks in the domestic one-day competition - hitting at a strike rate of 114.5 and setting tongues wagging around the country at just 17.

Comfortable hitting to all parts of the ground, but his square cut is a thing of beauty.

Will challenge for spots in the ODI and T20 teams in the coming years, but has red-ball qualities that excite the Victorian coaching staff as well.

 

Mackenzie Harvey

Captained the under-19's at last year's World Cup and, despite only being a couple of months out of his teens, is already firmly established in the Melbourne Renegades BBL squad.

Harvey announced himself as a potential star in his first top-flight game, carving out a stunning 39-ball half-century for a Cricket Australia XI against an England attack featuring Test trio Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett.

The nephew of former one-day star Ian Harvey, Mackenzie is a dashing left-hander with more than a hint of Michael Hussey about the way he scores runs.

 

Will Parker

There are few things that get an Australian cricket fan's blood pumping quite like a gifted young leg-spinner hitting the scene - and Will Parker certainly fits the bill.

Parker made his Sheffield Shield debut last season as a 17-year-old, taking four wickets at the SCG - including the prized scalps of Test hopefuls Kurtis Patterson and Moises Henriques.

The 18-year-old has a strong sporting pedigree, having knocked back the opportunity to nominate for the AFL draft despite being flagged a potential first-round pick.

 

TASMANIA

 

Mac Wright

Mac Wright made a strong impact with the Hobart Hurricanes at the back end of the BBL last summer, posting scores of 70 and 64 in consecutive matches - but it his proficiency against the red ball that has Tasmanian talent manager Ali de Winter excited.

A compact and technically sound batsman, Wright made a century in his domestic one-day debut, has the patience to bat time and has consistently racked up big scores in Tasmania's premier cricket competition.

"He's very exciting - he has all the attributes we're looking for success in the long-term," says de Winter.

 

Mitchell Owen

Tasmania has an enormous opinion of Owen, who starred in last year's Australian under-19 championships, where he hit a tournament-high 415 runs, including two centuries.

But it's his all-round qualities that should have fans excited about what the future holds.

"He's probably our brightest light at the moment," de Winter says.

"His bowling has come on in outstanding fashion. He's a superb athlete, is bowling around the 130-135km mark and has only been bowling seam up for about two years."

Corey Kelly played in the T20 series in Darwin earlier this year.
Corey Kelly played in the T20 series in Darwin earlier this year.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

 

Lloyd Pope

Pope bowled his way into the hearts of Australian fans with a mind-blowing 8-35 against England at the 2018 under-19 World Cup.

Later that year he snared a record-breaking 7-87 just his second first-class game and it looked like Australia had discovered a flame-haired leg-spinning answer to its prayers.

Still just 20, Pope has the best wrong'un in the country but, after some lean years, has worked tirelessly on improving his stock ball - with the rewards on show as he bowled the Redbacks to victory with 5-94 against Western Australia in the opening round of this year's Shield.

 

Corey Kelly

The Kelly twins - Corey and Thomas - are a talented duo on the horizon at South Australia.

Corey, the older of the two by two minutes and a bowling all-rounder by nature, is the more advanced prospect at this stage and claimed wickets in all four Under-19 World Cup matches in which he played.

Liam Scott

 

There's a little bit of Shane Watson about the way Scott goes about his work, as both a sweet striker of the ball and possessing the knack of getting wickets at key times.

A technically correct batting all-rounder who should have designs on moving up the order for the Redbacks, Scott helped salvage a draw against Tasmania with a stoic knock of 40 from 118 balls.

"He's one of those guys, a bit like Shane Watson, in that he manages to get wickets when you need them," says Manou of the 19-year-old.

Originally published as The best young cricketers from every state


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