THREE proud Launceston dads were as united in their praise of Tasmanian cricket yesterday as they will be in front of their televisions tomorrow night.
The presence of batsman George Bailey, spinner Xavier Doherty and all-rounder James Faulkner in the Australian squad for the one-day series against the West Indies is a credit to the system that produced them, according to fathers John Bailey, Mike Doherty and Peter Faulkner.
With two more NTCA graduates - batsmen Alex Doolan and Ricky Ponting - also at the beginning and end of international careers, the trio said it was a golden era for Northern Tasmanian cricket.
``It's great to see so many Tasmanians in the national team,'' said Faulkner, who was chairman of Tasmanian selectors for 12 years.
``It's a wonderful thing and they are all Launceston boys continuing on from the [David] Boon and Ponting days. To have four players within 50 kilometres of a rural centre like that is extraordinary. I don't know what's in the water here but it's working.
``It's a lot about temperament and all of those boys have got it, which is full credit to Tasmanian cricket and its culture.
``I think it all started in the days of Jack Simmons and cricket becoming entrenched in our psyche. Cricket is a big thing in Launceston and these kids are a product of that NTCA mentality and culture.''
Reflecting on their sons' blossoming careers, all three men heaped praise on the integral role played by Tigers coach Tim Coyle.
``We are very proud of how they are going,'' said Bailey, whose son has captained Australia in Twenty20 and one-day formats.
``It is no coincidence that Tim Coyle has been involved because he's proved to be a very good developer of cricketers.
``George and Xavier have come through at a time when Tasmanian junior cricket is very strong and they've never had big heads and the other two are the same. It's a very exciting time for Tasmanian cricket and especially Northern Tasmanian cricket.''
Doherty said: ``I think they are a credit to Tasmanian cricket, Tim Coyle and the structures they have there. They have really been a family away from family and ``Coyley'' has done a marvellous job.
``I know all these boys have had ups and downs with injury and non-selection and coped with that admirably. They are all remarkably good citizens.
``Xavier left home at 18 but received good guidance from Cricket Tasmania and peer influence from his mates. We're so proud of the way he has turned out. He has recently become a father and the way he's adapted to that, we could not be more pleased with him.
``They are all wonderful young men, great competitors and good cricket brains and George has the intelligence and wit to glue them all together, his natural leadership skills are such that all the guys love him.
``I had a lot to do with the development of Jimmy and he's a remarkable cricketer. He couldn't stream two words together at school but now is a fine young man.''
Faulkner said Coyle had built on the foundations he inherited at Bellerive and ``taken things to another level''.
``He is an outstanding coach, the most successful in Australian domestic cricket, and deserves massive credit but is the first to acknowledge he is part of the bigger picture and the whole Tasmanian structure deserves mention too.''
While modest about their own offspring, the dads were confident that the trio plus Doolan could also have a major impact on Test cricket.
``If George had been born in Victoria or New South Wales he would have been playing for Australia ages ago,'' Faulkner said.
``George always had lots of potential and I believe he is the leading one-day run-scorer for Australia this year. He is such a steady, thoughtful, smart cricketer who keeps a lid on things and I'm pleased to see him doing so well.
``Xavier has cemented his spot in the one-day team, I always thought he would, and is arguably Australia's best one-day bowler so would warrant consideration although I think they'd want a wrist spinner in England moreso than a left-arm orthodox.''
Bailey was confident the former George Town player could return to the Test arena, having featured in the losing Ashes series of 2010-11.
``I think Faulkner is also really putting his hand up now after two or three good years with Tasmania. He bowled really well in the (international) Twenty20 game, would have to be our most exciting fast bowling all-rounder and is a huge chance to take the next step,'' he said.