Australia's Future: The states' bright hopes who might be giants

Mark Waugh selects a future Australian team to fill the void left by its ageing champions.

While the focus of the cricket community is normally on the international stage, this week sees the start of Australia's domestic competition. State cricketers are only one step away from representing their country, but that honour often seems a million miles away. However, with the Ashes lost and several Test players at the back end of their careers, all of a sudden an opportunity has presented itself.

In the next few years there is likely to be a significant turnover of players at the top level. The selectors have already shown their hand to a certain degree by dropping Damien Martyn and Jason Gillespie from the Test team and Matthew Hayden from the one-dayers.

I have never believed in the theory that you get rid of players because of their age, but the fact is many of the current squad will finish their careers at a similar time. Selectors are aiming to bring in younger players regularly and introduce the next generation. But these guys will be trying to fill some enormous shoes and, to be honest, I'm not convinced the next generation will reach the heights of the current crop.

Nevertheless, here is a team I've picked consisting of up-and-coming players who might one day fill the void left by our ageing champions.

Phil Jaques, age 26, NSW:

A left-hander who has improved out of sight having played county and state cricket. Opens the batting with great gusto and an unorthodox style. Not conventional but a very instinctive, powerful striker of the ball.

Shaun Marsh, age 22, WA:

Debuted at the age of 17 for WA and has the talent to go all the way. Beautiful timer of the ball who has all the shots. Just needs to sharpen up his footwork at the crease.

Dominic Thornely, age 27, NSW:

A little bit older than the other guys but could still play Test cricket for five years. Had a big season last year for NSW when given the responsibility to play regularly and bat up the order. Class batsman, great fielder and handy bowler.

Callum Ferguson, age 20, SA:
Had a very good season last summer, averaging nearly 40 at first-class level.

Marcus North, age 26, WA:

A very strong upright player who plays spin and pace equally well. Great striker of the ball who can also bowl a bit of off spin.

Tom Stray, age 18, Vic:

Has played Australia U-19s and has been earmarked by many good judges as a top-order batsman.

Chris Hartley, age 23, Qld:

Continues the long list of high-quality glovemen from up north and, with the retirement of Wade Seccombe, will get plenty of opportunities to impress. Also very handy with the bat.

Moises Henriques, age 18, NSW:

Like Tom Stray, is yet to play first-class cricket but is an all-rounder of immense talent. Right-hander who bowls at good pace and more than capable middle-order batsman.

Dan Cullen, age 21, SA:

Right-arm off spinner who came onto the scene in a big way last season, taking 40-odd first-class wickets. Australia have been crying out of an quality finger spinner and he could just be the one.

Mitchell Johnson, age 23, QLD:

Left-arm quick who possesses raw speed. Has been a little injury prone, but if he can stay fit he could be a very dangerous bowler.

Ben Edmondson, age 27, WA:

He hasn't played much first-class cricket, but has plenty of talent and pace. Came from Queensland to WA and has shown enough to be thought of at high levels.

Beau Casson, age 22, WA:

A Left-arm chinaman bowler who can add extra variety to any bowling attack. Has a very good wrong'un, but must be given more opportunities to show what other tricks he has got up his sleeve.

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