Australian fast bowler Wes Agar headlines a series of state-contracted players who have signed up for this year’s limited Strike League competition which begins in Darwin later this month.
Agar made his international debut in Australia’s ODI series in the Caribbean last July, but then endured a frustrating summer at home during which he battled injury and illness and was limited to a handful of games. the Marsh One-Day Cup for South Australia and seven BBL outings with The Adelaide Strikers.
The 25-year-old will play for Northern Tide – coached by former Australian striker now SA assistant coach Mark Cosgrove – in the four-team Strike League which features a mix of one-day matches and one-period T20s six weeks. from June 26 to August 7.
His potential teammates for the Top End tournament, part of the Northern Territory’s revamped Cricket 365 programme, include Victoria’s young hitter Jake Fraser-McGurk, Queensland’s speedy James Bazley and former NSW rookie from Australia- Western, Charlie Stobo.
Tasmania’s ambidextrous rookie spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan has also signed for Northern Tide, where Agar is looking to rediscover the white ball form that saw him earn an Australian selection when regular reps like Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson weren’t. available.
“I was discussing my options for the off-season, and when I found out about Strike League in Darwin it was a perfect fit,” Agar told cricket.com.au.
“I think the white ball is my strongest format and it’s a format where I can really push my case to play at the next level.
“So if I can gain a better understanding of my game in this format, hopefully that will really help my development both for the (Adelaide) Strikers and for SA in the Marsh (One Day) Cup, but also, hopefully to get back into the mix and push my case for higher honours.”
Agar has also been persuaded to undertake an off-season in the Top End by his SA team-mate Henry Hunt, who is currently a member of the Australian A team in Sri Lanka where they play a series of limited and first-class matches against Sri Lanka HAS.
Hunt has been named a future Australian opener after sharing last season’s Marsh Sheffield Shield Player of the Year honor with Victoria’s Travis Dean, and citing his experience in the Strike League over several southern winters as a key factor in his career progression.
“That’s another thing that helped convince me, when he (Hunt) said how it fundamentally changed his career,” Agar said.
“At first he wasn’t sure if he should go up to Darwin and then he decided to go and the year after he scored a bunch of runs in the Futures League and the rest happened on its own.
“So that’s another factor that I took into account.
“I thought ‘well, that helped him’ and he’s a guy I consider a best friend and also someone I trust, so I took that into account as well. “
When NT Cricket launched its Cricket 365 program last year, it was cited as a way Australian players could access games all year round without having to travel overseas out of season.
However, the impact of COVID-19 last year meant that a number of players who had hoped to participate in the Strike League were unable to fulfill their commitments, and plans to bring clubs in KFC BBL Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades have also been dropped.
With the return of overseas travel this year, as well as the Australia and Australia A men’s teams facing a busy winter schedule, the number of Australia Cricket and State-contracted players available to travel in the Top End is limited.
But that hasn’t stopped several experienced and aspiring players from traveling to Darwin to gain valuable match experience.
Immediately following the Strike League competition, the NT will host a Top End T20 tournament which will feature the Stars and Renegades academy outfits as well as the Papua New Guinea men’s national team and the combined XIs fielded by CA and the NT.
Agar will not be available for this T20 tournament as he opted to return to Adelaide to continue his pre-season training with the South Australia Redbacks, but a number of other interstate players taking part in the Strike League competition are expected to be available.
Among those are prolific Tasmania fly-half Tim Ward, SA pace setter Jordan Buckingham and pair of rookies Hugo Burdon (Queensland) and Ashley Chadrasinghe (Victoria) who will feature for City Cyclones.
Southern Storm’s roster includes WA’s Sam Fanning, Tasmania’s Brad Hope, Queensland’s Jack Clayton and contract rookies Bailey Capel (SA) and Mitch Owen (Tasmania), while Desert Blaze signed WA fly-half Jayden Goodwin and spinner Corey Rocchiccioli, Queensland’s Max Bryant, Victoria’s Tom O’Connell and SA-capped all-rounder Corey Kelly, who is taking a break from cricket at state level.
Australian international home calendar 2022-23
(all local times)
Dettol ODI Men’s Series v Zimbabwe
Sunday August 28: Riverway Stadium, Townsville, 9:40 a.m.
Wednesday August 31: Riverway Stadium, Townsville, 9:40 a.m.
Saturday September 3: Riverway Stadium, Townsville, 9:40 a.m.
Dettol ODI Men’s Series v New Zealand
Tuesday, September 6: Cazaly Stadium, Cairns, 2:20 p.m.
Thursday, September 8: Cazaly Stadium, Cairns, 2:20 p.m.
Sunday September 11: Cazaly Stadium, Cairns, 2:20 p.m.
Dettol T20I series for men against the West Indies
Wednesday, October 5: Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, 6:10 p.m.
Friday, October 7: Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, 6:10 p.m.
Men’s Dettol T20I Series v England
Sunday, October 9: The Gabba, 5:40 p.m.
Wednesday October 12: Manuka Oval, Canberra 6.40pm
Friday, October 14: Manuka Oval, Canberra 6.40pm
ICC T20 Men’s World Cup
October 16-21: Group stage
October 22-November 6: Super 12 Stadium
From Wednesday 9 to Thursday 10 November: Semi-finals, SCG and Adelaide Oval
Sunday November 13: final, MCG, 7 p.m.
Men’s Dettol ODI Series v England
Thursday, November 17: Adelaide Oval, 1.50pm
Saturday November 19: CGS, 2:20 p.m.
Tuesday, November 22: CWM, 2:20 p.m.
Men’s Vodafone Test Series v West Indies
November 30 – December 4: First Test, Perth Stadium, 10.20am
December 8-12: Second test, Adelaide Oval, 2.30pm
Men’s Vodafone Test Series v South Africa
December 17-21: First round, the Gabba, 10:20 a.m.
December 26-30: Second test, MCG, 10:30 a.m.
January 4-8: Third Test, SCG, 10:30 a.m.
Dettol ODI Men’s Series v South Africa
*Dates subject to confirmation
Thursday January 12: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday January 14: CGS, 12:40 p.m.
Tuesday, January 17: Perth Stadium, 12:40 p.m.
CommBank ODI Women’s Series v Pakistan
Monday January 16: Allan Border Field, Brisbane 10.05am
Wednesday January 18: Allan Border Field, Brisbane 10.05am
Saturday January 21: North Sydney Ring, 10:05 a.m.
CommBank T20I Women’s Series v Pakistan
Tuesday, January 24: North Sydney Ring, 1:45 p.m.
Friday January 27: Manuka Oval, Canberra, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday January 29: Manuka Oval, Canberra, 1:45 p.m.