FORMER Australian selector Greg Chappell has pinpointed Jordan Silk as pivotal to Tasmania's fortunes this season.
The Tigers get the domestic campaign under way on Sunday and Chappell was full of praise for the ``very professional program'' developed by coach Tim Coyle and captain George Bailey and inherited by Coyle's replacement Dan Marsh.
He said the Tigers had consistently punched above their weight by winning the Sheffield Shield three times in seven seasons and had an equally bright future.
Integral to this, he said, was the 21-year-old New South Wales-born opener who has already hit two centuries in just five first-class matches.
``The pick of the group is Jordan Silk,'' Chappell said.
``Jordan has benefited from a few experiences with Australia A in the off season. He has the ability to bat anywhere in the top six due to his high level of skill.
``He is one of the premier fieldsmen in the country and he works extremely hard at it. After a great beginning to his cricket career last season, Jordan will be looking to build on that with consistent performances.''
In a glowing endorsement of the Tigers on the Cricket Australia website, the former national captain said they had plenty of reasons to be confident as they kickstart the Ryobi Cup by taking on New South Wales and Victoria in Sydney on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.
Chappell said batsmen Alex Doolan and Jonathan Wells and bowlers Clive Rose and Sam Rainbird should be able to fill voids left by the retired Sheffield Shield player of the year Ricky Ponting and delisted Jason Krejza and Matt Johnston.
``Alex is an exquisite player with an ability to play classic cricket shots off both the front and back foot,'' he said.
``His game has evolved well over the last few years and [he] is a key player for Tasmania in both one-day and four-day cricket.
``Jon developed consistency into his cricket last season and became an important member of Tasmania's batting group. Jon has a highly developed game sense and bats really well depending on the state of the game.ntsaHe is an excellent runner between wickets, and enjoys one day cricket.nte''
Chappell said left-arm swing bowler Rainbird had grown in strength and skill from two years with the Tigers while Rose would benefit from leaving Victoria and would maintain competition with fellow left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty and Harry Allanby.
``Clive [has] an excellent level of skill. He is also a more than handy middle-lower order batsman and very reliable fieldsman.''
``Clive is an extremely team-oriented person, and has a great knowledge of his spin bowling craft.''
CA has scheduled the one-day cup as a stand-alone tournament to be played around Sydney in a four-week period through October, meaning international players should be available before the Australian team heads to India for a series of ODI and Twenty20 matches.
A preview to the competition on CA's website also named Silk as one to watch along with the team's international all-rounder.
``James Faulkner holds the key for the Tigers,'' it said. ``Although he'll only play in their first two encounters before heading off to India .th.th. his presence alone could get them off to a crucial 2-0 start.''
``The all-rounder has been in sparkling form, picking up a bag of wickets on tour in England. His batting has several gears, while his bowling is as versatile as it gets.''