Handscomb bats away JLT knockers
THE pre-summer edition of the domestic one-day competition has already done its job even before it produces a winner in Wednesday's final between Victoria and Tasmania.
A competition restructure, which meant all six teams could make the final regardless of round-robin results, drew some criticism.
But when the Australian Twenty20 team was named last week and both Chris Lynn and Ben McDermott, two of the three leading run scorers in the JLT Cup, were included the notion that every match matters came through clearly.
"I think saying this is some sort of pre-season tournament is just wrong," Victorian captain Peter Handscomb said ahead of the showdown at the Junction Oval.
"People are putting their hands up to play one-day international cricket for Australia. People should take notice of what happens here."
Handscomb has enjoyed his own rejuvenation through the tournament too, racking up four straight half-centuries, including an 80 in last Sunday's semi-final, after failing to make the most of his chances with Australia A.
There were 14 hundreds scored too, which is what Australian coach Justin Langer is after, and the run scorers have got their rewards.
Lynn was recalled to the national team after a series of shoulder issues, and ongoing concern over his ability to field. But his 452 runs, and 27 sixes, were the best evidence the Queenslander could give he's ready for international cricket again.
So too is leg-spinner Adam Zampa who had been shunned in recent times but snagged 12 wickets in his six games to also earn another chance at securing a spot for Australia when the T20 team takes on Pakistan later this month.
McDermott, son of Australian fast bowling great Craig, gets the same opportunity after bashing the domestic attacks for 393 runs for Tasmania, with two hundreds, to finish just behind D'Arcy Short.
He's a new name in Australian short-form cricket and McDermott has come to prominence in games that have indeed found their importance.
Plus there's a title on the line, and no-one had forgotten that.
"I haven't played in a one-day final for a few years and haven't won one for Victoria," Handscomb said.
"We're coming off a good performance beating WA, and we go in to this final with a lot of confidence."