It may only be round one into the NSW Premier Cricket competition but Glenwood’s Param Uppal has already had an unforgettable start to the season.
The 18-year-old was co-captain of the under-19s Australian team, claimed his first NSW contract and has now been selected in the Cricket Australia XI to play in the JLT One-Day Cup.
“I was pretty surprised at first and pretty honoured to be around such a great bunch of blokes,” Uppal said.
“It will be a good opportunity to play at that level as well. It’s a good step forward.”
The 14-man squad will feature some of Australia’s most exciting young cricketers, four of which with previous state four-day or one-day experience.
Uppal spent the off-season in Queensland with the National Performance Squad program at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.
He said main squads may not expect too much from the CA XI but the players are eager to push their case for their respective state sides.
“It’s different for a CA team to be in the competition and the other states don’t expect that much from us but obviously we want to prove them wrong and try to get as many wins on the board,” Uppal said.
“But for us, it’s good to get an opportunity at that level, considering we are such a young side.”
Uppal, who plays for Fairfield-Liverpool in the NSW Premier Cricket competition, had a positive start to the season, hitting 67 and taking a wicket.
“It was a good hit out – I would have liked to hit three figures before being run out,” he said.
“It was nice to be out in the middle after a big pre-season.”
The squad is selected by the Youth Selection Panel including state talent managers, coach Matthew Elliott and high performance program head coach Troy Cooley.
National talent manager Greg Chappell said the previous success of CA XI sides is clear with multiple players making the jump into their state teams.
“There is some real talent within this group, and we believe the players in this squad will benefit enormously from the opportunity to compete against the best players in Australia,” Chappell said.
“It's great to see seven players who represented the CA XI last year feature in state squads this year - Western Australia’s Will Bosisto and Josh Inglis, Victoria’s Sam Harper and Matt Short, New South Wales' Ryan Gibson and Arjun Nair, and Queensland's Brendan Doggett."
The CA XI will kick off its JLT One-Day Cup campaign against South Australia on September 27 at Allan Border Field.