The 2017 National Indoor Cricket Championships will combine Australia’s pinnacle Junior and Open national championships for the first time, with a record number of teams to participate from 2 July to 15 July at the Mackay Indoor Sports Arena.

Almost 1000 players and officials will take part in the event, which features 40 Junior teams - an increase of eight from last year - across five divisions, and 27 Open teams across five divisions.

Among the big names competing across the Open competition will be Hobart Hurricanes BBL spinner Clive Rose and Melbourne Renegades BBL all-rounder Trent Lawford (both Victoria), Brisbane Heat WBBL pace bowler Kara Sutherland (Queensland) and Sydney Thunder WBBL wicket-keeper Claire Koski (New South Wales).

Cricket Australia Indoor Cricket Manager Briana Binch said:

“The Indoor Cricket National Championships are a vital part of the Pathway for our leading Indoor cricketers, ensuring they have the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the country,” Binch said.

“This year it’s extremely pleasing to bring our Open and Junior competitions together for the first time, and to see a record number of teams participating. We have seen a significant increase across our junior divisions over the past four years, and this only serves to highlight the number of young players being attracted to Indoor Cricket and the exciting future ahead.

“At an Open division level, there is plenty at stake. For our Open Men, Open Women, 21 & Under Men and 21 & Under Women, there are not only national championships titles to be won, there’s the opportunity to be selected to represent Australia at the forthcoming 2017 World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) World Cup in Dubai later this year. All four of our Australian teams are the reigning World Champions, and we expect competition to be fierce for places in these squads.

“We have already had fantastic support from the Mackay Regional Council, and we look forward to seeing some really competitive cricket played on some first-class facilities at the Mackay Indoor Sports Arena over the next two weeks.”

The five Junior divisions involve 17 & Under Boys, 17 & Under Girls, 15 & Under Boys, 14 & Under Girls and 13 & Under Boys, and will run from 2 July - 8 July.

The Open competition commences on 8 July until 15 July, the five divisions include Open Men, Open Women, 21 & Under Men, 21 & Under Women and the Lord’s Taverners Shield (division for cricketers with an intellectual disability).

This year also marks the 25th year of the Lord’s Taverners Shield for cricketers with an intellectual disability.

Finals will be played across the respective Friday and Saturday at the end of each competition, with 30 matches to be live-streamed across these four days via the CA Indoor website and Facebook page.

Across the Open Men, Open Women, 21 & Under Men, 21 & Under Women divisions, Australian selection will also be up for grabs, ahead of the 2017 WICF World Cup in September in Dubai.

More than 185,000 people participate in Indoor Cricket across Australia, with the likes of national captains Steve Smith and Meg Lanning, plus fellow stars Kristen Beams, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell all featuring on the indoor courts in their junior careers.

To follow all the action, visit the CA Indoor Facebook page, follow CA Indoor on Twitter, or head to the CA Indoor website, www.indoor.cricket.com.au.