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Young gun cricketers sharing the journey

By AAP Newswire

The year is 2021. Australia have reclaimed the urn and are celebrating in the SCG rooms, where Jason Sangha, Jack Edwards, Lloyd Pope and Cameron Green are still pinching themselves.

Like so many teenagers around the country, it's a scenario the four can only dream of.

But unlike so many teenagers around the country, it's far from impossible.

A series of strong performances from the quartet and other youngsters points towards a bright future for Australian cricket despite recent woes.

Ryan Harris and fellow development coach Chris Rogers know the next generation better than anybody else.

The former Test players mentored Australia's under-19 World Cup squad at the start of the year and the National Performance Squad (NPS) throughout winter at Cricket Australia's Brisbane training base.

Harris is conflicted while discussing the nation's next big things, expressing confidence they will fulfil their immense potential but also a desire to ease the immense pressure.

The lion-hearted paceman was irked by some of the commentary to have followed the recent maiden Sheffield Shield tons of Sangha and Edwards, as impressive as they were.

"I don't want to talk them down. They're definitely future stars but let's be a bit old-fashioned about it," Harris told AAP.

"Let's not be silly. Don't rush them. Because if you pick them and burn them, their confidence goes back to the ground.

"Let them average 40 or 45 in first-class cricket then, maybe in their second year, if they're braining it, then we start thinking about that (Test selection).

"It's like Lloyd Pope. He is not the next Shane Warne - he is a very good bowler with a lot to learn. Stop calling him the next Shane Warne; we've said that about every spinner since Shane and we've burned a few."

Sangha and Edwards spoke of hard work ahead after their career highlights.

Young guns Pope, Green, Josh Philippe and Will Pucovski were likewise at pains to downplay their own hype after eye-catching performances early in the Shield season.

Pope, continually peppered with as many questions involving Warne's name as his own, shows the sort of composure that Rogers had exhibited at the crease.

"They know the opportunities are there but they also know you've got to earn the right," Harris said.

"They'll know when they are ready. I'm pretty sure they can make it. I just hope they make it in the right manner."

CA and state associations must help manage great expectations but the ultimate responsibility falls on players' shoulders.

In that regard, they are sharing the journey.

As Edwards reached three figures on Tuesday at the SCG, his phone lit up with congratulatory texts from teammates from club Manly, friends and family.

A NPS WhatsApp group, started for admin purposes but now an outlet for mates to stay in touch while supporting and sledging each other, was also flooded with messages.

"We gave Bucky (Rogers) a bit of stick about tearing up when Jack brought up his century," Pope laughed.

Jake Weatherald, the 24-year-old billed last month as a Test bolter by Brett Lee, was the elder of this year's NPS intake and pitched into the role of older brother.

Weatherald admits he had dreaded the idea of hanging out with so many teenagers.

"Now they're some of my closest mates," the South Australian opener told AAP.

"You never know what you're going to get with young players but there were no egos.

"Now these guys all want to be a part of each other's careers. Chris and Ryan are a big part of that too - they always send us messages. Whether we do well or poorly, they're always helping.

"Whoever gets their chance within our group, hopefully they take that chance and just run with it."

Fans are likely to warm to whoever it is.

The Ethics Centre had detailed a culture of arrogance and entitlement among Australia's elite male cricketers, something they have vowed to rectify.

The young guns, by all accounts, are the antithesis.

Two days after Tim Paine admitted his team were guilty of becoming wrapped up in their own self-importance, Edwards, Philippe and Sangha were part of the Prime Minister's XI who upset South Africa.

The youngsters were understandably ecstatic but unapologetically humble. Some were spotted in a Canberra bar shortly after the victory but, instead of wild celebrations, they were sharing a quiet word with Dale Steyn, desperate to pick the brain of the South African legend.

The kids are alright.