We’re bullish about our future

Big Billy Stanlake was outstanding on debut for the Queensland Bulls.
Big Billy Stanlake was outstanding on debut for the Queensland Bulls. Steve Christo

WHILE last week's debut by Sam Heazlett was very impressive, we got another look into Queensland cricket's future over the weekend with two more young pups making their mark on the first class scene.

Our outright win over South Australia at the Gabba was a real case of "Young Talent Time", with the fresh-faced crew of kids producing stand-out efforts.

Big Billy Stanlake showed all the attributes of a bowler that was well above his years.

He bowled fast outswing and got good bounce, as you would expect from a bloke that headbutts ceiling fans.

Billy did learn a lesson, though, after the South Australian number 11 hit him back over his head twice in the 81st over.

Captain Chris Hartley quietly whispered that next time that happened and the new ball was available, Billy should insist on taking it and remind his opposing tailender that such shots were not allowed under the "bowlers' code".

On the batting front, we could be looking at a long-term solution at number four in Marnus "Lambshank" (easier to spell than Labuschagne you could say).

He started his first-class career last season opening the batting, however, I really like the look of him in the middle-order after watching his near-faultless maiden Sheffield Shield century.

He is composed and has all the shots in the book which make him a nightmare to bowl too.

If I was a fan of the Queensland Bulls I would get used to the names Heazlett and Lambshank, sorry Labuschagne. It could be our next long-term Marty Love and Stu Law combination.

Add the new-ball combination of Mark Steketee and Stanlake and another handy teen in rookie opening batsman Matty Renshaw, and I think Queensland cricket's future looks very bright.

No pressure, though, youngsters.

Marnus Labuschagne in action for Queensland. Photo: Getty Images.
Marnus Labuschagne in action for Queensland. Photo: Getty Images. Matt King

While it was great to see the young 'uns go well, I don't want to overlook an old stager or two either.

It was a pleasure to play with Chris Hartley last game as he broke Wade Seccombe's record for the most dismissals by a Queensland wicketkeeper.

Both "Chuck", whose record was 519 dismissals and "Harts", who has now got 521, spent countless seasons plying their trades behind the stumps for Queensland and many will argue that both are unlucky to have not played more for Australia.

Harts is the hardest-working bloke I have played with and although personal milestones are not why he plays the game, he can look back on this in 10 years and be very proud. He is very deserving of the record.

Records aside I think he is secretly enjoy captaining the kids at the moment. After James Hopes stepped aside, Harts was one of the senior players who was ready to do the job if need be.

I think he is doing a great job fast-tracking the development of the Baby Bulls. Although we are only three games deep into our Shield season, I think he has high hopes that he can guide these pups very close to a final later in the summer.


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