OPENING UP: Sam Heazlett, batting against Indian team Madhya Pradesh, will open for the Mackay Whitsunday Nitros.
OPENING UP: Sam Heazlett, batting against Indian team Madhya Pradesh, will open for the Mackay Whitsunday Nitros. Tony Martin

Youth and experience

CRICKET: One of the state's hottest young players will be backed-up by experience when the Mackay Whitsunday Nitros play in the Bulls Masters Country Challenge at Townsville this weekend.

Brisbane-based Sam Heazlett will open the batting in the T20 series, partnered by Norths captain Brant Attard who hit 80 off 40 balls in a trial game this week.

Heazlett, 19, hit a double century for the Mackay Whitsunday Cyclones to help them beat Indian visitors Madhya Pradesh at Harrup Park in August.

"That was my first game for Mackay and it wasn't a bad start," he said.

"I've been playing plenty of T20 and one-day cricket and that has been going well.

"That (232) was my highest score. I just enjoyed it and backed myself and everything fell into place.

"They've asked me to come back and I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy playing T20, it's a bit of fun."

Heazlett, who is an Australian youth Under-19 squad member, recently played T20 at the Australian University Games. He is studying physiotherapy at Griffith University.

Coach Peter McGiffin said Attard would be a good foil to Heazlett's youth, after showing strong form in this week's trial game.

"We bat down to eight with either recognised batsmen or all-rounders," he said.

"We've got strong batsmen in the top order like Shaun Austin, Jason Butterworth and Mitchell English, who scored a century in the Poole Cup last weekend.

"This is probably the strongest team that we have had, and we're also strong in bowling.

"I'm very happy with the preparation."

CQ Seamers, NQ Missions and Far North Fusion are also playing.

Nitros

1 Sam Heazlett, 2 Brant Attard, 3 Rhys McBride, 4 Shaun Austin, 5 Joel Bruun, 6 Mitchell English, 7 Brenton Polzin, 8 Jason Butterworth, 9 Tom Bugeja, 10 Todd Dixon, 11 Mason Kohler, 12 Mitch Casey


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