Golden Square teenager Zane Keighran takes another step in his cricket development this week when he plays for the Cricket Australia under-16 squad at the national under-17 championships.
Keighran is one of three Victorians in the 13-man Australian squad for the titles in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Keighran, 15, earned selection after some standout performances at last summer’s national 15-and-under carnival.
The right-hand batsman has undertaken a heavy training load in recent weeks to prepare for the carnival.
“I’m heading to Melbourne two or three days a week for training,’’ Keighran said.
“There’s range of under-19, under-17 and under-15 players who are taking part in a specialised batting program.
“(Former Victorian coach) Greg Shipperd runs the training with (Cricket Victoria academy coach) Jarrod Loughman.
“The training has been great. Greg Shipperd has helped me a lot with my technique. We also work on match scenarios which has been a big help.
“It’s a great opportunity.”
Keighran will bat in the middle-order for the Cricket Australia squad.
“We don’t know each other that well, but we have a three-day training camp together before the titles start which will help,’’ Keighran said.
“We’ll go into each game thinking that we can win. We have a very strong batting line up and we’ll back our bowlers to bowl good line and length.”
One of Keighran’s team-mates will be MacKenize Harvey, the nephew of former Australian and Victorian all-rounder Ian Harvey.
"This is a great opportunity for these highly-talented young players to challenge themselves against the best under-17 cricketers in the country," Cricket Australia's National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said.
"We believe this tournament will help fast-track the development of these players to enable them the best chance of becoming future elite cricketers.
"Last year was the first time a CA XI competed in the Under-17 championships. The side won four matches, reaching the semi-finals, and there were a number of outstanding individual performances which was really pleasing to see.
"It is great to see such a strong transition through the Pathways program."
Keighran’s talents don’t just rest with cricket. He had a solid season with Golden Square under-18s in the BFNL and was rewarded with two games for the Bendigo Pioneers at TAC Cup level.
“The cricket coaches in Melbourne encourage me to play footy,’’ Keighran said.
“They’re happy for me to play as many sports as I want at this stage.”
Premier Cricket clubs Melbourne and Carlton are chasing Keighran, but for now the teenager will pad up for Golden Square in the BDCA first XI this summer.
In January, he’ll join the Cricket Australia under-16 team for a tour to Dubai where they’ll face the Pakistan under-16 squad.