Border unveils revolutionary search plan for Ashes heroes

Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 15:53 PM IST

Melbourne: Cricket Australia has turned to Baggy Green Idol Allan Border to help it to unearth the country’s next cricketing superstar.

Fronting new reality-TV show Cricket Superstar, which will commence auditions in Bunbury, Western Australia, today, Border said it was anything but a blatant ratings grab.

In fact, the former Test star said that he is completely convinced the Foxtel show - to follow in the footsteps of Football Superstar and The Contender - is capable of discovering half a dozen players who could challenge for a baggy green and help return the precious Ashes urn as early as 2013.

Male cricketers aged between 17 and 22 have already applied for the eight different trials around the country, including Alice Springs. More than 70 nominations were received for Sydney`s January 30 trial. Cricket Superstar will screen mid-year.

A final squad of 15 will live together and train at Brisbane`s Centre of Excellence for six weeks under Border, with players to be eliminated each week. The winner will be handed a first-class contract with their home state."

"That`s the message we`ll be sending out to these kids, that there has never been a better opportunity in Australian cricket for a young bloke to make a name for himself," Border told a newspaper.

"When you get a series like this summer, while you``re never happy about it, a lot of good can come out of it, and Cricket Superstar is very timely. We`ve got development officers out there trying to fast-track talent, but sometimes these reality shows can unearth talent we`ve never seen," Border added.

"The ultimate winner will get a first-class contract, but there will be half a dozen kids who get picked up who aren`t already in the system. In two to four years` time, if we pick a kid who plays for Australia, it`s a tick for the show, but it`s also exactly what we`re looking for," the former Test captain said.