Cricket Shepparton has named its squad in the lead-up to this month’s Melbourne Country Week carnival.
The prestigious tournament has lost some of its lustre in recent years, with an amount of players unable to commit to appearing as they once did.
Association representative cricket director Daniel Coombs is the one of the players forced to sit out this year’s edition because of his work commitments as a teacher.
But Coombs is confident the side that will travel to Melbourne for the first game on January 30 will give division two a shake.
‘‘We’ve got a good, balanced side,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘We need ticket-takers and I think we’ve got a decent mix of pace and spin.
‘‘We have Elliot Richardson who has been in form with his pace, while we’ve got spinners like Nick Breslin, Michael Archer and Andrew Riordan.’’
Katandra has the most players in the 14-man squad, with Corey Hickford and Ben Clurey joining Richardson and Riordan from the Eagles.
Old Students captain Luke McPhillamy has made himself available, as has his team-mates Nick Breslin and English opener Felix Odell.
Coombs said it was exciting to give a number of younger players an opportunity at the carnival.
‘‘We have five or six guys under 20, so it’s a transitioning team,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘Paul Parsons, myself, Dwain Vidler and Brendan Scott aren’t there who played last year, so we’re hoping some of the guys in the squad can play for years to come.’’
Coombs believed it would be reasonable to have the tournament earlier to allow more players to be available.
‘‘It’s getting harder and harder to get sides together, especially with it being in the first week back at school,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘There’s some guys doing Year 12 and a few guys who are teachers, so if it was moved a week then it would allow those players to put their hand up for selection.’’
Shepparton’s first game is against Sunraysia, before matches with Ferntree Gully, Leongatha and Murray Valley.
Shepparton’s Melbourne Country Week squad: Nick Breslin (captain), Luke McPhillamy, Felix Odell (Old Students), Andrew Riordan, Ben Clurey, Elliot Richardson, Corey Hickford (Katandra), Jess Petherick, Michael Archer (Tatura), Jack Furnival (Numurkah), Anthony Andronaco (Shepparton United), Will Hale (Mooroopna), Jack McCarten (Central Park-St Brendan’s), Harris Carnegie (Kyabram).