Keira all-rounder to play in Australian Country Championship

Keira all-rounder Jonathon Cook is among six new names in the NSW Country "Bush Blues" side chasing a third consecutive Australian Country Championship title in Canberra early next month.

Cook is the leading wicket-taker in the Illawarra competition and was outstanding for his region in their debut in the Sydney Twenty 20 competition and NSW Country Championship.

Cook joins Keira teammate Graeme Batty [the Bush Blues skipper] and Dapto coach Dale Scifleet in the NSW Country side for the championship on January 6-14.

"Jono's been a standout for Keira and Illawarra and thoroughly deserves his spot," said Batty, who was named in NSW Country for a fifth successive year.

"Every season he has improved his game. He's a really handy, reliable bat in the middle-order and played some important knocks for us in the Country Championship, including a key knock in the final, while his leg-spin bowling is a real threat in all forms.

"Given the championship in Canberra will be on flat, batting-friendly tracks, Jono will be a real asset with his batting, plus as a frontline spinner able to take wickets."

The national country championship was cut back from two weeks to nine days this year; the ACT and Northern Territory have not entered a side.

NSW will play two two-day games [including against last season's runners-up Victoria], two one-dayers and one T20 match. Scifleet was happy to be selected for a second successive season and wants to get among the runs.

"I didn't make a big score last season, so it'd be good to make a score this time around," he said.

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