CLOSE EYE: Former Australian wicketkeeper Graham Manou will mentor Australia's best junior cricketers.
CLOSE EYE: Former Australian wicketkeeper Graham Manou will mentor Australia's best junior cricketers. Aijaz Rahi

Australian keeper on the Coast to mentor junior talent

CRICKET: Former South Australian great and one-time Test player Graham Manou borrowed a line from Malcolm Turnbull ahead of this week's National Under-17 Male Cricket Championships at Buderim.

"There's never been a more exciting time to play cricket,” he told the Daily.

Manou recently took on a role with Cricket Australia to develop a pathway program for players aged 15-19 which aims to guide young cricketers on and off the field.

He believes cricket is in prime position to strike on Australia's most prodigious sporting talents, as it can offer international exposure from a young age and a plethora of chances to earn a "very decent living”.

"With the World T20 (in Australia 2020) jut around the corner, the under-17s and 19s aren't far off getting into those squads,” Manou said.

"Having a home World Cup is like representing your country at the Olympics for a cricketer. And what the Big Bash has done over the past five years is terrific.

"From a domestic player's point of view, it's shown the depth we do have in our country.”

Manou hopes to expose that depth to Sunshine Coast locals when the competition starts today.

EACH state will be represented, with New South Wales and Victoria nominating Metro and Country teams.

A Cricket Australia XI has also been selected which will be guided by former England player Dimitri "Dimi” Mascarenhas.

Born and raised in Perth, Mascarenhas played 20 one-day internationals for England before taking up coaching jobs in Australia and New Zealand.

"I'm very lucky,” he said of his position this week.

"These boys have been picked for a reason - they are the best for their age group in the country. It's a good challenge and hopefully we are up to the mark.”

Matches start at 9.30am today at Maroochydore Cricket Club.

Victoria Metro will play Tasmania, the CA XI have the tough task of New South Wales Metro and Victoria Country will play Western Australia.

Queensland, led by Sunshine Coast Scorchers player Angus Lovell, will face South Australia first-up on Kev Hackney Oval.

"I'm always impressed by the facilities up here (Maroochydore CC). I've been a few times in my glory days as a player,” Manou said.


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