Central Victoria's most talented junior male and female cricketers will be exposed to a new Cricket Victoria pathway program.
The new program is designed to support and develop future Australian and first-class players while also ensuring young cricketers form a lifelong connection with the game.
A cricketer's pathway to Cricket Victoria's Emerging Players Program will transition through three phases: 'Be Exposed', 'Be Challenged', 'Be Prepared'.
For a young male player, their first foray into representative cricket in the 'Be Exposed' phase will occur at under-14 and under-15 level through the Victorian Metropolitan Cricket Union's Russell Allan Shield, the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association's J.G. Craig Shield and the Victorian Country Cricket League's Junior Country Week for regional players.
At under-16 level, male players from across the state will advance to the Youth Premier League in the 'Be Challenged' phase. This program will be overseen by Cricket Victoria's coaching and talent specialists and can lead to further opportunities in the under-17 Emerging Players Program.
The 'Be Prepared' phase sees the return of the Dowling Shield with under 17 players linking with a Premier Club. This is the pathway's finishing school and will aim to ensure players are ready to transition to senior cricket. This will align with the under-19 Emerging Players Program.
Read more: Stepien to move to Tasmania
Female players will follow a similar pathway with representative opportunities beginning at under-14 level through the VMCU's Julie Savage Shield and the VCCL's Junior Country Week.
The Youth Premier League will be open to under-15 players and align with Cricket Victoria's under-16 Female Emerging Players Program. The final step will be an under-18 Premier Competition where players will link with Premier Clubs and earn opportunities in the under-19 Female Emerging Players Program.
"The formation of this player pathway model has involved wide stakeholder consultation, extensive planning and has been backed by world leading talent development research," Cricket Victoria's high performance manager Dean Russ said.
"The pathway celebrates the great work our associations and Premier Cricket are doing and looks to nurture players, regardless of where they live, as they progress through the various phases.
"We want to produce national and first-class cricketers and we don't shy away from that, but we also want to produce well rounded senior cricketers who can give back to their clubs and help bring through the next generation of cricketers."
Read more: Flashback - sport in May, 2007
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: