Tough initiation: The Cricket XI has struggled in the Matador Cup. Photo: Brett HemmingsFormer NSW captain Dom Thornely said Cricket would have been better off entering the n team that postponed the tour of Bangladesh to play in the Matador Cup than the CA XI.
Thornely, who was captain of the “Baby Blues” in 2008, a team that suffered some tough times as the likes of Steve Smith, Phillip Hughes, Peter Forrest and Usman Khawaja were blooded, said he supported the players in the CA XI, who Western thumped by 246 runs on Thursday.
The CA XI consists of fringe state squad players – and the average age of each player in the group is 21. While the CA XI enjoyed a shock victory over Tasmania, Thornely said he would have entered the national team forced to stay home after the federal government expressed fears n “interests” were at risk from extremists in Bangladesh.
“I would have picked the n team to play in the Matador Cup to see how the states went against them,” he said. “It would’ve been hard, but in hindsight I wonder if this is going to do more damage [to the CA XI players] than it will enhance their careers. You go to North Sydney and Shaun Marsh belts you over the ground for 186, yes, you know where you are, but the damage?
“On the flip side, Marsh hits 186 and pushes his case for Test selection but, with all respect, is that [bowling attack’s] quality the level you’d get from a Test side?”
Cricket national talent manager Greg Chappell said on Monday he could not understand the “negativity” directed at the CA XI, adding that the players would learn from the experience.
NSW spin bowler Stephen O’Keefe was worried how the experience could affect some players. “Even after we beat them with the double bonus point I said on radio they’d win a game and they’ve done that,” he said.
“My biggest fear for them is they do build up scar tissue. Getting thumped generally isn’t good for your cricket, regardless of what level you’re playing. I’m pretty certain a lot of those guys will go on and have good first-class cricket careers but I’d probably just like to see in that team guys more on the fringe of their state squads playing.
“The idea of getting another 11 guys out there is fantastic but I also think there are guys at NSW cricket who missed in this squad who would develop, who are still young and would benefit from playing in that team.”