Home » Aussie U19 world champions rewarded with Bulls contracts | cricket.com.au

Aussie U19 world champions rewarded with Bulls contracts | cricket.com.au

Aussie U19 world champions rewarded with Bulls contracts | cricket.com.au

World Cup-winning quartet set to earn Queensland deals for 2024-25 as state resets after disappointing summer

Queensland’s under-19 World Cup champions are set to be rewarded with elevation to the state’s senior list with Callum Vidler and Lachlan Aitken in line for their maiden professional contracts.

World Cup-winning skipper Hugh Weibgen is set to be upgraded from a rookie to a full contract, while cricket.com.au understands the Bulls have also poached fast bowler Tom Straker from NSW.

All four were part of Australia’s squad for their stunning U19 men’s World Cup triumph over India last February with off-spinning allrounder Tom Campbell the unlucky Queenslander who was also part of the 15-player group but narrowly missed out on a Bulls contract.

Vidler is believed to have secured a full contract alongside Weibgen, while Aitken and Straker have both earned rookie deals for 2024-25 with Queensland expected to announce their men’s contract list for next season later this week.

Rising speedster Vidler – who says he has been clocked up to 143kph – was Australia’s leading wicket-taker during the U19 World Cup and made his first-class debut in Queensland’s final game of the Marsh Sheffield Shield season where he picked up five wickets against NSW.

Vidler’s five wickets on Shield debut

The 18-year-old’s 14 scalps at 11.71 in six World Cup matches, with Straker’s 13 at 11 in six games a close second for Australia at the tournament.

Weibgen’s 304 runs at 50.66, which included a knock of 120 against Ashes rivals England, was the champions’ second highest scorer with the bat.

Vidler and Weibgen earned selection in the ICC’s Team of the Tournament alongside the nation’s top run-scorer Harry Dixon (309 at 44.14), who is also expected to sign a rookie contract with his native Victoria for next season.

Following his Shield debut last month, Vidler – who hails from Valley Premier Cricket club and was inspired to bowl fast by fellow Queenslanders Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris – said he was relishing the opportunity to further his game in the Bulls environment.

“‘Stek’ (Mark Steketee) and ‘X’ (Xavier Bartlett) have had a really good season and they’re very good bowlers, so I can learn so much off them not just on the field but off (the field as well),” said the right-armer, who claimed NSW veteran Daniel Hughes as his maiden first-class wicket.

“It’s just awesome to have people like that around. Even when I was running drinks (the game prior to his debut), it was an awesome experience.

“I’ve been very lucky that Queensland have given me a go early and hopefully I can play a few more (next season).”

Australia’s U19 World Cup-winning pace battery Charlie Anderson, Mahli Beardman, Callum Vidler and Tom Straker // Getty

With both a World Cup win and a first-class debut ticked off at age 18, Vidler is now hoping to use the off-season to build his strength and increase his durability.

“Hopefully put on some size,” he said of his plans during the winter. “I’ll have an off-season where I hit the weights and try to eat more.

“(I’ll) take a bit of a break too, as a young fast bowler I don’t want to hurt myself. Then (if) I have a good preseason, hopefully I’ll be around the Queensland squad … I’m pretty keen just to play some more cricket.”

His Valley teammate Weibgen will also be looking to use the off-season to return to full fitness after a back injury prevented him from bowling in the World Cup and limited the off-spinning allrounder to just two overs last season in Premier Cricket.

Weibgen celebrates reaching his hundred against England in the U19 World Cup // Getty

Wicketkeeper-batter Aitken earned his spot on the rookie list with strong performances for his Premier club Gold Coast with 677 runs at 24 over the past two seasons, along with 54 catches and nine stumpings.

He’s also hit 623 runs at 52 for the Queensland U19s in the same period with a top score of 157 against the Northern Territory in the 2022-23 championships.

The 19-year-old played two games during the World Cup against Sri Lanka and the West Indies but was left out of the XI for the semi-final against Pakistan and the 79-run victory over India in the final.

Straker and Weibgen celebrate after beating India in the World Cup final // Getty

The loss of Straker – who took 6-24 in Australia’s thrilling one-wicket semi-final victory over Pakistan – is a blow for NSW who were the state with the most representatives (six) in the World Cup-winning squad.

The Blues announced their list for 2024-25 on Tuesday with three of those six – Sam Konstas, Ryan Hicks and Charlie Anderson – earning state contracts for the first time. Hicks and Anderson have rookie deals, while Konstas has gone straight to a full contract after finishing the season opening the batting in their Sheffield Shield side.

But with Bartlett earning a Cricket Australia contract for the first time after an impressive international debut against the West Indies in February, it gave the Bulls the list space to strengthen their pace stocks and they swooped on Straker.

Queensland’s men’s squad is going through somewhat of a reset after finishing last in the Shield for the first time in 16 years and fifth in the Marsh One-Day Cup before also losing head coach Wade Seccombe after the 2023-24 season.

They are also looking to appoint an academy coach to work across the men’s and women’s state programs to facilitate greater connection between the underage pathways and senior squads.