Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cricket NSW: Blues go back to the future

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Photo Credit: Cricket NSW

After a very disappointing season last summer, the NSW Men’s Cricket team will go ‘back to the future’ in 2023/24 with a host of familiar faces appointed to key roles in a restructure set to reinvigorate the Blues.

In a series of moves designed to restore NSW to the top of domestic cricket, the Blues will look to the support of a group of former players with almost 1000 appearances for NSW and the state’s Big Bash clubs.

On the field, veteran former skipper Moises Henriques will be the all-format captain, ready to add to the 20 previous matches he led the Sheffield Shield side across seven different seasons. He has also captained the Blues One-Day team on 16 occasions.

Off the field, former Blues and Australian greats Michael Bevan and Shane Watson will come onboard as consultants, with Bevan to provide specialised batting coaching, and Watson to offer mentoring and mindset training for players.

The Blues had already announced the appointment of revered cricket mentor Greg Shipperd as head coach, with support of assistants Ali de Winter and Shawn Bradstreet. The former is a past head coach of Tasmania and Australian team assistant, the latter a past NSW Blues captain.

The selection panel has also had an overhaul, with 159-game Blue Geoff Lawson and 171-gamer Stuart Clark, joining Shipperd and CNSW Chief of Cricket Performance, Greg Mail, himself a former Blue.  Another former Blues player and coach, David Freedman, rounds out a group dripping with experience and cricket knowledge. Lawson and Clark are both still heavily involved with Sydney Premier Cricket, adding to their experience as international players, in coaching and administration.

Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon, said the appointments support NSW’s vision to become a world class organisation.

“No one at Cricket NSW was happy with what happened last season and we have now taken steps to turn things around, with the aim to build consistent success,” Germon said.

“All of these guys come with extremely accomplished resumes, and they have NSW cricket and the Blues in their DNA. That will bring a renewed edge to our structure and the playing group.

“The program is now being led by Greg Mail and Greg Shipperd and the playing squad, led by Moises (Henriques), have knuckled down in the off-season and are determined to challenge for titles.

“Now, by bringing in the collective experience and world class skills of Michael Bevan and Shane Watson, we have added to our off-field support structure.

“Geoff Lawson and Stuart Clark are synonymous with the NSW Blues and have always maintained a connection with the game. They ‘bleed Blue’, just like Greg Mail and David Freedman.

“It really is ‘back to the future’ for us this season and we are confident we are in a better position now than we were prior to these changes.”

The Blues will play practice matches against Victoria at Cricket Central on September 8, 10 and 12, before launching the season proper with a Marsh One-Day Cup match against Tasmania at Junction Oval in Melbourne on September 27.

Their opening Marsh Sheffield Shield match is set down to start on October 4 against Queensland at Cricket Central.

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