The ACT/NSW Country Comets are on a collision course with the MCG as they prepare to launch their Second XI campaign in a 100,000-seat stadium.
Canberra product Blake Macdonald will captain the Comets in their four-day clash with Victoria's second XI at the MCG beginning on Monday.
Western District junior Macdonald has enjoyed a stellar start to Sydney's premier competition with St George, peeling off 293 runs at an average of 146.50 in four matches.
"Blake's start to the season has been really strong," Comets coach Kyle Piper said.
"He has shown exceptional growth and has a good understanding of who he is as a player and a person and knows what he needs to do to be successful."
Towering Weston Creek Molonglo quick Joe Slater returns to the Comets set-up for the first time in four years after a two-year break from cricket, while former Comets under 19s captain Toby Gray is in line for his four-day debut.
The match stands as the only Comets game pencilled into the fixture this season, with officials hopeful of locking in more games throughout the summer pending border restrictions.
"COVID-19 has certainly taught us all to be appreciative of what we have and to remain flexible. At this stage we only have this game locked in but there is the potential for three more matches post-Christmas," Piper said.
"We have still had plenty to get excited about as a squad with the performances of former Comets Henry Hunt [Australia A] and Nathan McAndrew [South Australia] to go with the emergence of current Comet Hayden Kerr who has had an excellent start to his first-class career this week with the NSW Blues.
"This has continued a pleasing trend from our players over the last few years in that our players are demonstrating they are more than capable of being leading players in their respective set ups. This has been really gratifying and is a great reward for the entire pathway who work so hard to achieve this outcome."
CRICKET AUSTRALIA SECOND XI
Monday-Thursday: Victoria v ACT/NSW Country Comets at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Play begins at 10.30am.
ACT Comets squad: Nick Larkin, Ryan Hackney, Blake Nikitaras, Blake Macdonald (c), Nick Cutler, Justin Avendano, Beau McClintock (wk), Riley Ayre, Ross Pawson, Greg West, Sam Skelly, Joe Slater, Toby Gray.
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