Ayre eyes broader horizons
Aaron Ayre could be set for an interstate move. Photo: Melissa Adams
ACT Comets batsman Aaron Ayre is likely to seek greener pastures next season to increase his opportunities of making the leap to the first-class arena.
Ayre can push his claims when a Territories XI takes on a South Australia XI in a three-day match in Queanbeyan and a one-day game in Canberra this week.
The Territories XI features a combination of the most promising players from the ACT and the Northern Territory as they aim to impress South Australian talent scouts.
Former Australian coach Tim Nielson will cast a close eye over the prospective players in his role as the head coach of the Emerging Redbacks program.
Ayre has had a solid season for the Comets in the Futures League and showcased his leadership skills as the captain of Queanbeyan this season in the first-grade competition.
Comets coach Mark Higgs said Ayre would be one of a host of players who would come under consideration as Cricket ACT continues its role as a pathway program.
''He's in his third or fourth season playing seniors with us, so it's time for him to go interstate and show his wares,'' Higgs said. ''His batting has come along in leaps and bounds.
''Technically he's gone up about 60 or 70 per cent, so it's just about him showing people how much he's improved.''
Jono Dean will captain the Territories XI in both games as he looks to continue his stellar summer.
Dean rose to prominence with a swashbuckling 50 for the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies, and backed it up with an unbeaten triple century for Queanbeyan.
He is on the radar of the Adelaide Strikers and another big innings in front of Neilson won't do his chances any harm.
The two trial games are the latest sign of Cricket ACT's growing partnership with South Australia.
Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon is the highest-profile player to make the switch, while Dean Solway, Alex Ross and Sam Miller have also made the move in recent years.
''We've had a really good link with South Australian cricket and that's why this game has come about,'' Higgs said. ''We played a trial match last year down there and a few of our boys impressed.
''It's no secret they've struggled the past few years in Shield cricket, so they're always looking for talent.''
TERRITORIES XI v SOUTH AUSTRALIA XI: Three-day game starting on Monday at Freebody Oval. One-day game on Thursday at Manuka Oval.