Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke will coach the Prime Minister’s XI side to take on Sri Lanka on Wednesday, February 15, at Manuka Oval.
Mr Turnbull has also named an 12-man squad for the Twenty20 fixture, under the captaincy of Adam Voges as previously announced. Five of the 12 have international experience, with the ACT represented in the 12th man slot by ACT teenager Matthew Gilkes, a wicketkeeper-batsman who played at the under-19 championships.
The squad is:
Adam Voges, WA – Captain
George Bailey, TAS
Joe Burns, QLD
Alex Carey, SA
Arjun Nair, NSW
James Pattinson, VIC
Will Pucovski, VIC
Jason Sangha, NSW
D’Arcy Short, WA
Henry Thornton, NSW
Daniel Worrall, SA
Matthew Gilkes, ACT – 12th man
Will Pucovski and Jason Sangha also played at the under-19s titles.
Tasmanian captain George Bailey and Queensland’s Joe Burns, who have represented Australia in both Test and limited-overs cricket, will ensure the Prime Minister’s XI has plenty of experience at the top of the order.
Fast bowlers James Pattinson (Victoria) and Daniel Worrall (South Australia) have also been named, and have both taken the new ball for Australia at international level within the past 12 months.
Every state side is represented in the playing XI, which has been selected to showcase some of Australia’s best emerging talent.
Commenting on the announcement, the Prime Minister said there was an enormous amount of new talent in the squad, along with more established players led by Voges.
“This year also marks the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The PM’s XI cements and celebrates the deep bonds between our two countries.
“I look forward to hosting this year’s PM’s XI, welcoming Sri Lanka, and continuing this great tradition.”
National Talent Manager Greg Chappell said it was pleasing to have some of the country’s brightest young talent playing in the Prime Minister’s XI.
“Adam Voges as captain will provide a wealth of experience, having played 20 Test matches and captained the Perth Scorchers to the recent KFC Big Bash League title, as will George Bailey and Joe Burns, who have represented Australia in ODI and Test cricket respectively this summer,” Mr Chappell said.
“James Pattinson is working his way back from injury and he’s a player of significant interest to the NSP. This match is an opportunity to get him back into some competitive cricket. Daniel Worrall is also coming back from injury, and this is a chance for him to step up his preparation for the back-end of the season.”
Victoria’s Will Pucovski – who is currently on Sheffield Shield debut for the Bushrangers and broke the runs record at the Under 19 National Championships in December 2016 – is one of three teenagers named in the playing XI, alongside 17-year-old batsman Jason Sangha and 18-year-old spinner Arjun Nair, both from New South Wales.
“It’s part of the pick and stretch policy we have with our young players, to keep exposing them to more challenges at the highest level possible, to help them develop their skills,” Mr Chappell said.
“We believe that playing against a touring team and sharing the dressing room with some players that have represented their country is a great learning opportunity for these young players.”
Nair was one of the leading bowlers during the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup earlier this season, claiming 11 wickets in five matches for the Cricket Australia XI.
Western Australia’s D’Arcy Short – a spin-bowling allrounder with Indigenous heritage – also features, following a breakout KFC BBL|06 with the Hobart Hurricanes.
The match is a double-header, with the ICC’s 16th ranked nation Papua New Guinea to take on an ACT XI at Manuka Oval on the same day at 2:30pm.
Tickets to the Prime Minister’s XI double-header are available now at www.cricket.com.au/tickets