Businessman and philanthropist, Mr Basil Sellers AM, will tonight present scholarships to 9 up-and-coming young cricketers to support their dreams of one day representing NSW and Australia.
The presentation will take place at the Sydney Cricket Ground and will be attended by Mr Sellers, with former Australian captain and current Cricket Australia National Talent Manager, Greg Chappell, as guest speaker.
Since season 2005-06, the Basil Sellers Scholarship Program has supported 15 male and 9 female cricketers who have gone on to represent New South Wales at senior level, in addition to seven that have played Test cricket (Phillip Hughes, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy).
The Scholarship can be used by players in a number of ways, whether it be to assist with a move from regional areas to the city to further their careers, or helping with the costs of educational and vocational pursuits.
The 9 cricketers selected to receive a Basil Sellers Scholarship for the 2012/13 season are (clubs/region in brackets):
Harry Conway (Northern District)
Gurinder Sandhu (Fairfield-Liverpool)
Jake Doran (Fairfield-Liverpool)
Shane Cassel (Parramatta)
Sam Reading (Murwillumbah)
Tom Skelly (Southern Zone – Tully Park)
Ashley James (Northern Districts)
Naomi Stalenberg (Campbelltown-Camden)
Celeste Raack (Campbelltown-Camden)
All of these players have already represented NSW in underage cricket.
Shane Cassel, Harry Conway and Gurinder Sandhu all represented the Australian Under 19’s at the recent World Cup in Queensland, where they reached the final before losing to India, while Ashley James, Naomi Stalenberg and Celeste Raack, have all played for New South Wales Under 18’s.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive, David Gilbert, congratulated the recipients of the scholarships and also thanked Mr Sellers for his ongoing support of NSW cricketers.
“Being awarded a Basil Sellers Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for these young players. Not only will it help ease the financial burden of pursuing their cricketing dreams, it will also assist them in furthering educational and career opportunities outside of the game. This, in turn, will develop them into well rounded individuals,” said Mr Gilbert.
“Cricket NSW is most grateful to Basil Sellers for his continued support of the Scholarship Program. He is an extremely generous man and we are indeed fortunate to have Basil supporting cricket in the way he does,” he said.
About the Basil Sellers Scholarship Program
The Basil Sellers Scholarship Program was born after a chance meeting between Basil and the then Australian wicketkeeper, Adam Gilchrist, in 2004.
Since 1985, Basil Sellers had been sponsoring the Country Boys Coaching Class, a program that had been running since the 1950s that brought talented junior players from regional NSW to Sydney for clinics.
Adam Gilchrist was one of the beneficiaries of this class when he was 15-years-old and one of his memories from the clinics was receiving a Speedo t-shirt from Basil! 17 years later, when their paths crossed again, Gilchrist recounted the story of this presentation to Basil and expressed his thanks for the opportunity the Coaching Class had given him. It was a gesture that certainly left its mark on Basil who was thrilled that his sponsorship had had such a wonderful effect on the career of one of Australia’s most exciting cricketers.