The Sixers have announced their 14-player Academy side for the BBL|07 pre-season, with a twist on previous squads featuring younger faces and tougher opposition.
A number of players are returning to the Sixers Academy after earlier stints in the development program, however, this year will see some of cricket’s best young talent develop their skills in one of Australia’s biggest clubs.
Under the tutelage of returning Head Coach Gavan Twining, the Academy will take part in four training sessions beginning in September.
The players will then suit up in magenta for a quadrangular round robin series against the Thunder Academy, Hurricanes Academy and Pakistan’s Lahore Qalandars Rising Stars starting in October
Unlike previous seasons of the Sixers Academy, players already contracted by New South Wales were not considered for selection.
“We have been working closely with the High Performance team at Cricket NSW to introduce Twenty20 skills to all levels of their Academy programs,” said Sixers General Manager Dom Remond.
“We identified a number of up-and-coming players and a few seasoned NSW Premier Cricket players who will engage in T20 specific training sessions.
“This will be a great opportunity for the players to test their T20 skills against the next level up and build on their experience base of T20 games should they be called into the Sixers squad for BBL|07.”
In previous seasons, Academy players Charlie Wakim, Riley Ayre and Soumil Chhibber have been called up to the Big Bash League side as replacement players during the tournament, but have not been included in the starting eleven.
However, the aim of the Sixers Academy is to create a direct pathway for young talent in New South Wales to become fully contracted players in the men’s and women’s Sydney Sixers sides.
“The Sixers Academy is still growing, but eventually the goal is to have 80% of all Sixers players come from New South Wales academy programs,” said Remond.
“All of the players in this year’s Academy team have been selected from clubs in the Sixers region or, in exceptional circumstances, where a player has chose to represent the Sixers.
“A number of younger players like Ryan O’Bierne, Baxter Holt, Austin Waugh and Jack Edwards are outstanding players and already part of the NSW U/19s programs.”
Alex Gendenning, Soumil Chhibber, Riley Ayre, Declan White and Axel Cahlin are all players returning to the Academy team after previous stints. Chhibber was also the Sixers Development Rookie in BBL|05 and played a trial match against Bangladesh in 2016.
The Academy will be captained by Manly’s James Crosthwaite, who has never played in the development set-up but has previously taken part in intra-club trial games for the Sixers.
At 30, Crosthwaite will bring leadership and experience to the Academy and its swathe of younger players.
Danul Dassanayake, Ben Manenti, Jack Edwards, Justin Avendano, Austin Waugh, Devlin Malone, Ryan O’Bierne and Baxter Holt are all fresh to the Sixers Academy.
In particular, Avendano, Menenti and Malone had excellent seasons in Premier Cricket last summer, including some standout performances in the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup.
During the four training sessions with the Sixers Academy the players will be coached in skills specific to T20 games and how to the get the best out of their games for the format.
“The training sessions are designed around specific T20 skills they might not get in other programs,” said Academy Head Coach Gavan Twining.
“Specifically power hitting, facing the new ball during the Power Play and manipulating fielders while playing spin bowling.
“With power hitting, in T20 cricket players need to reach deep into their skill set to clear the fence. Historically batting in cricket has been conservative by nature and built on good defence while also keeping the ball on the ground.
“Whereas in T20 cricket, players need a whole range of shots so they can score around 360 degrees of the field.
“When facing spin bowling, we coach the Academy players to not only learn how to score boundaries but also being able to place the ball and getting twos when the field is spread through the middle overs of T20 games.”
Also joining the Academy for particular sessions and games will be Sixers BBL Head Coach Greg Shipperd who has coached T20 all around the world, including successful Victorian teams and in the Indian Premier League.
“Greg is regarded as one of the best batting skills coaches in the country, so the players will be lucky to have him there during those sessions,” said Twining.
“The bowlers will also work on developing a number of different variations and all working on improving their fielding in the intensity of a T20 environment."
The quadrangular round robin series will take place in October with a Final scheduled for Thursday November 2 2017.
|ALEX GLENDENNING||Sydney CC|
|SOUMIL CHHIBBER||Randwick Petersham|
|RILEY AYRE||Randwick Petersham
|BEN MANENTI||Sydney CC|
|JUSTIN AVENDANO||North Sydney|
|DEVLIN MALONE||Sydney Uni|