Bega's Big Bash is bombs away for Higgs

FORMER international one day player Mark Higgs says he will “throw caution to the wind and have a crack” during Friday night's Bendigo Bank Big Bash. 

The Prime Minister’s XI coach is fired up and raring to go after hosting a series of cricket training clinics in Merimbula and Bega this week. 

Higgs said he was looking forward to the match and won’t hold back. 

“I played that way my whole career, so I can’t see it changing now,” Higgs said. 

Higgs said he was prepared to both bat and bowl as he has played as an all-rounder since the start of his career. 

“Early in my career I was selected as an all-rounder.

“But I can maintain my bowling easier than I can maintain my batting,” he said. 

However, an extension of Blake Dean’s contract with the Sydney Thunder has put Higgs under some pressure with his local clinics. 

“Absolutely, Blake was always supposed to be coming down for this.

“And then his contract was extended until the end of January I think.”

Higgs was delighted to see his players advancing though and was happy to work around the situation given Dean’s opportunity. 

“I think he was a little bit nervous in the first game and it showed, so we’re hoping for him to bowl a bit better in the next game.”

Dean was also named to make an appearance at the Big Bash tonight, but was forced to withdraw due to his Thunder commitments. 

His place in both the Twenty20 and the training clinics has been filled by Vele Dukoski, an all-rounder from the ACT Comets, who Higgs says is equal run leader for the competition. 

“We’ve got him ear-marked for good things in the future.”

And in a surprise announcement on Wednesday, Comets star batsmen Michael Spaseski was also named to assist at the clinics and play in Friday's game. 

“They’re our two in-form players,” Higgs said. 

The two players were also guests of Higgs at an informal talk held on Thursday night at Club Bega. 

Higgs said it was a discussion about the opportunities that exist now the Far South Coast had integrated with Cricket ACT. 

“We’re just having a chat to talk about the pathways and the opportunities through ACT.

“We’re hoping to make a strong link with the coast to see young players get ear-marked to play for Australia.

“We create a pathway for guys in amongst cricket Australia and we want to continue our relationship with cricket on the Far South Coast,” he said. 

Higgs said a number of talented locals were already participating in ACT representative teams, or were on shortlists for selection.

“Obviously there are people like Mac Wright who is already doing well in the Canberra competition. 

“I think it’s shown in this season taking players and putting them in our grade competition has really developed skills,” he said. 

Higgs said he was able to get preparations made for his Prime Minister’s XI coaching duties earlier this week so he could focus on the clinics and Friday's game. 

“I spent a bit of time early in the week going through the timetable and what the guys are expected to be doing.

“They won’t fly in until Monday afternoon so I made a lot of preparations before it all.

“We’ll have a cocktail party with the Prime Minister on Monday night and then the match is on Tuesday,” he said. 

In the meantime Higgs said he planned on continuing work with locals to see them advance through the national ranks. 

“We want to fulfil their dreams,” he said.

The Bendigo Bank Big Bash is at George Griffin Oval, play is due to start at 5pm.

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