RETURNING star all-rounder James McNeil will lead the Border’s bid to repeat last year’s stellar rep cricket season.
Coach Trent Ball said he was the perfect fit — able to lead by example with bat, ball and in the field.
McNeil, 23, returned to Cricket Albury Wodonga after five years in Sydney grade cricket where he played in two minor premierships during his 93 matches for University of NSW.
McNeil, who will play for East Albury, was also part of an Australian Universities all-star team to tour India this month.
Ball wants McNeil to be himself in the captain’s role for the newly christened Stars.
“He can have an impact on the game with the bat, ball and in the field — one of those guys people hate because he can do everything,” he said.
“James is a natural leader who has an aura about him.
“I just want him to be himself, he will lead by example and everyone will feed off that.”
Last year Cricket Albury Wodonga went agonisingly close to the rep cricket treble — winning the Twenty 20 Konica Minolta Cup at Manuka Oval before being beaten in the grand final of the SCG Cup and Victorian Country Week.
Ball said he was unlikely to name a squad until a week before the first of the Twenty 20 fixtures.
“We also need to assess the standard of the imports who will play in the competition,” he said.
“It’s just by word of mouth at the moment but I’m hearing some big things.
“We will have a training run in the next couple of weeks, to have a look for myself and make a judgement and also speak to the guys who play against the imports in the first couple of weeks.
“My theory for success is simple; getting the best players playing together where everyone feeds off each other, the standard and expectation of individuals raised from one person to the next.”
Ball admitted key losses may dent their aspirations but getting back to the SCG dominated his thoughts.
“Defending our Twenty 20 Konica cup will be a huge task this year as we will have a bit of a target on our heads with the Canberra teams,” he said.
For the CAW preview turn to the season booklet in the middle of today’s paper.
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