By Nick Creely
A trio of the regions most exciting and well-regarded cricketers enjoyed a chance to mix with some of the best cricketers in Victoria on Sunday, with the Vic State Squad taking on a Victorian Premier Cricket All-Stars team in an one-day exhibition match at the Junction Oval on Sunday.
Highly-exciting Casey-South Melbourne youngster Ashley Chandrasinghe – off the back of brilliant Premier cricket form after a barnstorming start to his young career – got the chance alongside Dandenong champion James Nanopoulos and fellow Panther and ex-Test cricketer Suraj Randiv to play for the Premier team against a string of state contracted cricketers in an entertaining high-scoring clash almost certain to capture the attention of state selectors and BBL franchises.
The Vic State Squad batted first and racked up an imposing total of 4/298, with emerging Geelong star Tom Jackson crunching an outstanding century – an unbeaten 107 off 95 balls. Nanopoulos took 0/59 off his 10 overs and shared the new ball with Greenvale seamer Sean McNicholl, while off-spinner Randiv – who played 12 Tests for Sri Lankan – was incredibly impressive to be the clear pick of the bowlers, snaring 1/29 from 10 economical overs.
But it was with the bat that local youngster Ash Chandrasinghe – one of the most highly regarded young batsmen in Premier Cricket – shone against a quality bowling attack featuring state contracted Xavier Crone, Todd Murphy, Cam McLure and Jono Merlo.
Putting on a highly impressive 95-run opening stand with Northcote star Mark Phelan (91), Chandrasinghe looked fluent to strike 35 from his 55 ball stay, sending five to the boundary in a display certain to turn some heads.
The Victorian Premier Cricket side eventually ran down the total three wickets down, thanks largely to the opening stand and a whirlwind knock from Essendon gun James Seymour, who blasted 110 not out as the noise surrounding a BBL call-up with the Melbourne Renegades or Melbourne Stars grows louder.
It’s been a run-soaked season so far for young Chandrasinghe, who has scored 234 runs at the top of the order for the Swans at club level at the impressive average of 58.5, while prior to the season he enjoyed a stint in Darwin for Waratah, crunching 301 runs at 50.17.
The full scorecard for the exhibition match can be found at premier.cricketvictoria.com.au