IT will be a new look Western Zone squad which begins its defence of the NSW Country Cricket Championships later this month with Monday's squad announcement revealing a new captain and some shock selections.
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With Dubbo's Tim Cox stepping away from representative cricket Cowra's Nick Berry will captain the side during their Southern Pool matches at Wagga in what is his first season back as a Western player.
But that wasn't the biggest surprise with two teenage spinners, Dubbo's Marty Jeffrey and Bathurst-based Ryan Peacock, called up from relative representative obscurity to get a taste of top-level cricket.
Both youngsters have carved out hugely impressive junior representative careers and were part of last season's Western's under-16s and 19s squad and Western's senior coach Matt Crawley has backed them to handle the big stage.
"The nucleus of the side is still there but we've added a couple of really promising under-19 players who impressed in pre-season camps and we're comfortable with the team," he said, before explaining Jeffrey's role in the side.
"We've selected Marty to bat in the top six because he's played some good innings in the 19s and in pre-season and on Saturday (for Dubbo) he batted very sensibly in a tricky situation.
"He'll bat probably at five which may surprise because he's predominately known as a spinner and that's another good string to his bow."
Another thing allowing Crawley to be so comfortable with naming the young players is the fact the vastly experienced and former Sydney first grader Berry is back as captain.
"When he was captain of Easts he had a lot to do with the progress of Dave Warner, Tim Armstrong and Adam Zampa and they came into first grade under his captaincy," he said.
"We're really lucky because in recent years we've lost players but picked up players of high quality and Nick is certainly one of those."
The two young guns and Berry are part of a revamped squad with which features no Cox, Greg Buckley, Mick Curtale or teenage tearaway Jacob McNaught, who is away on under-19s duty.
Dubbo is the most well represented in the squad with seven players named, including former Mudgee stars James O'Brien and Will Lindsay, while Bathurst has three and Cowra just the one in Berry.
Last season Western defeated Riverina, Southern and Illawarra on their way to claiming the Southern Pool of the Country Championships.
They then faced Newcastle in the final where a brilliant Jordan Moran century led them to a six wicket win and the title of country champions.
With a different squad at his disposal this time around Crawley knows it will be a challenge to match that effort but the mentor still has confidence in his squad.
"We're optimistic again but we know Southern are now combined with the ACT so they'll be very strong and I expect Riverina to respond strongly and of course Illawarra are always one of the powerhouses," he said.
"It's going to be a really different Southern Pool and completely different to last year so we'll have to be at our best."
The Southern Pool matches will be played at Wagga from November 20-22.
WESTERN ZONE: Nick Berry (captain, Cowra), Tim Berry (Dubbo), Mitch Bower (Dubbo), Anthony Heraghty (Parkes), Marty Jeffrey (Dubbo), Jordan Moran (Dubbo), Stuart Naden (Dubbo), James O'Brien (Dubbo), Ryan Peacock (Bathurst), Aaron Seymour (Bathurst), Josh Toole (Bathurst).
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