Despite constant criticism that Western Australia has lacked the ability to produce quality First Class pace bowlers in recent times, fast bowling great and WACA President Dennis Lillee believes that the West is still a fertile breeding ground for the art of pace bowling.
Although the current Retravision Warriors squad may contain four front line pace bowlers bred interstate (Brad Williams, Ben Edmondson, Steve Magoffin and Mathew Inness) there is definitely no shortage of raw pace bowling talent shining through from the West. Since the advent of the Dennis Lillee Fast Bowling Academy in the 2002-03 season the best young pace bowlers in the State have been able to fine tune their talents with coaches of the calibre of Lillee and former State Coach Darryl Foster.
"Underneath the Warriors squad we've got a healthy set of teenage pace bowlers," Lillee said when giving his thoughts on the future of WA pace bowling.
The healthy set that Lillee is referring to includes players of the calibre of current Australian Under-19 representative Chris Thompson and 17 year old Warriors rookie squad member Nathan Coulter Nile.
Thompson, who leaves for India on the Australian Under-19 development tour this week, is one that has particularly impressed Lillee.
"He's been coming along nicely since being picked as a young colt at 15," Lillee said.
"It's lovely recognition for him to be picked in the Australian Under-19's and if he continues to work hard opportunities will come."
Thompson will be keen to follow in the footsteps of the biggest success story in the short history of the Academy so far, Brett Dorey.
Over the last two years Dorey has been able to work his way through the Warriors development pathway, progressing from his club side Fremantle through to the WA Second XI and to making his Warriors debut last summer. Along the way he has worked with Lillee, Foster and WACA High Performance and Coaching Manager Doug Harris in the Academy.
"It's really encouraging to see someone like Brett coming through the Academy to play for the Warriors," Lillee said.
"After his quick introduction to First Class cricket Brett's had to reassess his fitness and his best cricket is definitely still ahead of him."
Harris said that Dorey is a shining example for the budding bowlers currently in the Academy.
"Brett's achievements so far show the boys in the Academy that if they're willing to work hard they too can bowl for the Warriors at the WACA," Harris said.
"It's an exciting time for not only the Warriors but also for the next generation of WA players working their way along the WACA's development pathway."
One to watch early in the season will be Midland Guildford left armer Arron Crawford who recently returned from a stellar Institute Challenge in Darwin. Crawford, in his first year as a Warriors rookie, took eight wickets at 17.13 with the sensational strike rate of 21.63.
The next chance for WA's up and coming pace bowlers to impress the State selectors will be at this weekend's trial matches at Lilac Hill.