T20 CHALLENGE HEATS UP
The Brisbane Heat’s final 2012-13 KFC T20 Big Bash League contract position will be filled by a player from a ramped-up KFC T20 Challenge this season.
Following last year’s successful launch of the four-team T20 Challenge by Queensland Cricket, the second instalment this summer will again pit the Blaze, Burners, Infernos and Flames against each other in a round-robin series across three Sundays in October and November.
The KFC T20 Challenge will be held on Sunday October 14 at Redlands’ home grounds at Wellington Point, Sunday October 28 at Sandgate-Redcliffe’s Deagon complex and Sunday 18 November at Valley’s fields at Ashgrove.
Following the final round, the Brisbane Heat will announce that one player from the tournament will receive the 18th and final contract for BBL|02 that roars into action in December and January.
In a change from last season, the Infernos team will be selected from country and regional players identified during the Queensland Rail Bulls Masters Cup competition, that will be played in Mackay and Bundaberg on September 29 and 30 between seven regional teams and the PNG Barramundis.
Queensland Cricket has also formalised the allocation of XXXX GOLD Premier Grade clubs to the three remaining teams, with the Blaze drawing from Sunshine Coast, Sandgate-Redcliffe, Toombul and Norths; the Flames selecting from South Brisbane, Wynnum-Manly, Redlands and Gold Coast and the Burners calling on players from Valley, Western Suburbs, Ipswich-Logan and University of Queensland.
The Queensland Selection Panel of Chairman Trevor Hohns, Rod Rice, Ray Phillips and Ken Dixon will select the three Brisbane teams in consultation with their respective coaches.
The Infernos side will have eight regionally-based players selected by Country selectors Darryl O’Sullivan and Larry Seri with the Queensland selection committee coordinating the inclusion of four contracted XXXX GOLD Queensland Bulls players.
The Warehouse Cricket Association will also stage a T20 tournament on October 6 with State selectors scouting players from those games for possible selection in the T20 Challenge squads.
Bulls, Brisbane Heat and Queensland Academy of Sport squad players will be evenly distributed amongst the three Brisbane teams.
Queensland Cricket High Performance Coaching manager Terry Oliver said the selectors would pick the best players for each team.
“The coaches for each of the teams will be encouraged to experiment, innovate and get their teams playing an exciting style of cricket,’’ he said.
Oliver said the competition draw had been done to maximise the involvement of Bulls and Heat contracted players, with only a Futures League game clashing with round two.
Last year’s competition saw four players nominated to play for the QAS in the Futures League T20 tournament, with two of them, in Matthew Gale and Steve Paulsen, gaining Heat contracts.
With the Futures League T20 competition not proceeding this season, Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann opted to streamline the process and pick just one player from the competition.
“We’re pretty excited about the way the competition is going to work this year,’’ he said.
“We’ll get some good T20 match play for the contracted Heat players leading into the Big Bash League but also have the chance to again see who can put their hands up to catch our eye,’’ Lehmann said.
“Having the Infernos side comprised of country players is great and the fact they will be picked from the Bulls Masters Cup means that we are casting our net as widely as ever. We saw last year that there is plenty of talent in the regions and in our club system.”
“The other up side of the competition is that the Queensland selectors get to run the rule over players who can potentially press for Bulls selection as well.”
Lehmann revealed that the T20 Challenge would also provide him with scouting opportunities for the Heat supplementary player list and selection of a Heat ‘A’ side that will play a T20 match against an Australian Country selection on Saturday 12 January during the national country championships in Bundaberg.
The six players on the supplementary list can be used as replacements during the tournament for injured players and also to be drawn on for any Champions League T20 appearances should the team qualify in the top two sides from the BBL.
Alister McDermott and Joe Burns were both elevated from the supplementary list onto the main playing roster last season.
The Heat has signed 15 players so far for BBL|02, with two spots remaining to be filled and one position to come from the KFC T20 Challenge.
Coaches for each of the T20 Challenge teams and the full draw for each of the rounds will be announced in due course.
Queensland Rail Bulls Masters Cup
NORTHERN CONFERENCE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
Far North Fusion Wide Bay Flames
North Queensland Monsoons Darling Downs Suns
Central Queensland Seamers South East Queensland Stormers
Mackay/Whitsunday Nitros Papua New Guinea Hebou Barramundis
KFC T20 Challenge
Burners, Blaze, Flames, Infernos
14 October, Redlands DCC, Wellington Point
28 October, Sandgate-Redcliffe DCC, Deagon
18 November, Valley DCC, Ashgrove
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