Although his opportunity came at the expense of one his Tigers teammates, 2015-16 premiership-winning CYMS quick and now Tigers coach Mick Delaney is pumped after being brought into the ACT XI which will take on Papua New Guinea on Wednesday afternoon.
The ACT faces off with PNG at Canberra’s Manuka Oval as a curtain-raiser to the Adam Voges-led Prime Minister’s XI’s clash with Sri Lanka, which changes the Twenty20 format this summer.
Delaney’s inclusion isn’t a bad birthday surprise either.
“Yeah, it’s not a bad birthday present at all,” Delaney, who turns 29 on Wednesday, said.
Delaney’s been brought into the side in place of fellow Tigers tearaway Cam Suidgeest, who was forced to withdraw with an injury on Tuesday.
“It’s a real pity Suidy can’t play, he’s been killing it all year. Both our opening bowlers, him and Lukey Ryan have been magnificent. They’re a huge reason Ginninderra has improved so much this summer,” Delaney said, referring to the Tigers’ resurgence this summer.
They’ve gone from last in 2015-16 to sitting inside the ACT Premier Cricket top four, at the moment.
“Honestly, I’d much prefer to see those two guys playing in this game than myself but you take the good with the bad. I’m really excited to get back to this level, I played with the (ACT) Comets for a few years before going to South Australia but I thought my rep days were well and truly over.”
I thought my rep days were well and truly over, but it’ll be great to play this level of the game again.
Delaney, who was second on Orange District Cricket Association’s wicket-taking list last summer with 29, will line-up as a quick for the ACT XI.
“I’m not sure how quick I’ll be bowling though,” he laughed.
“If I was a bit younger I’d probably be looking to make a huge impact on the game, it’s a good chance for players to get some exposure, but now I’ll just be looking to play my role and help the side to a win, and trying not to embarrass myself now I’m at this level again.
“I’ve played with a lot of [the ACT XI] before … guys like [John] Rogers, Jono Dean, [Aiden Blizzard], they’re all really good cricketers … so it will be nice to play with them again and have a run around Manuka Oval.”
The clash comes after Cricket ACT established its PNG scholarship program in November, there’s a number of imports now playing in the Premier Cricket competition.
“PNG are an exciting side. I’ve really enjoyed having some of their players in our competition this season because they play really exciting, explosive cricket,” Delaney said.
“It’s really exciting to be part of a program like this one, it gives these guys a really good opportunity to further their cricket and from what I hear, PNG are doing okay at the moment on the international scene.”
The Barramundis are currently ranked 16th in the world in One-Day Internationals.
Delaney’s form for Ginninderra – he’s taken 10 scalps and scored 234 runs this summer – hadn’t gone unnoticed leading into Wednesday’s game, Blizzard, Cricket ACT’s general manager of high performance, said.
“It’s obviously unfortunate to have Suidy unable to play due to injury, but we’re excited to be able to have Mick available to fill the role of fast bowler,” Blizzard told Cricket ACT.
“Mick has been performing well for Ginninderra, and we are excited to have him in the team for Wednesday’s match.
“I think he’ll also bring a lot to the team. He has experience in a state system (with South Australia) and has leadership qualities having experience as a club level coach. I’m sure a lot of the boys will appreciate his presence in the team.”
The ACT XI’s clash kicks off at 2.30pm, before the Prime Minister’s XI game at 7.15pm.
ACT XI:John Rogers ©, Jono Dean, Joe Slater (Weston Creek Molonglo), Aiden Blizzard (ANU), Matthew Gilkes, Tom Engelbrecht, Sam Skelly (Western District-UC), Michael Spaseski (Eastlake), Dean Solway (Queanbeyan), Ben Taylor (North Canberra-Gungahlin), Benji Floros (Tuggeranong), Mick Delaney (Ginninderra)