CENTRAL West Wranglers' bid for a maiden Plan B Regional Bash title has received a massive boost thanks to the addition of Bathurst District Cricket Association graduate Blake Dean.
The Wranglers announced their team for the upcoming 2021-22 edition of the statewide Twenty20 tournament on Thursday, and Dean's inclusion adds one of the most fearsome bats in country NSW to their lineup.
To say Blake Dean was 'instrumental' in the ACT Aces' Plan B Regional Bash title last season still seems like a massive understatement.
Dean clubbed 74 runs in the semi-final to knock the Wranglers' regional rivals, Orana Outlaws, out of the hunt before he backed that effort up just several hours later in the grand final with an unbeaten 70.
That grand final effort against the Lake Mac Attack included a devastating 21-run over.
It's an addition to the team that has Wranglers' Jameel Qureshi excited.
"it's great having someone like Blake in the side," he said.
"I was lucky enough to grow up playing against him in Sydney and he's probably one of the most talented cricketers I've met in my life so it will be really good for all the young guys in the side to play with someone like him.
"He's the kind of guy who even if he's is or isn't actively playing cricket he's still able to play at a high level.
"I remember back in the day I received a phone call from him when I was playing in Sydney and he'd had a two year break and mentioned he was keen to play in Sydney. We had a few training sessions and it wasn't long before he had himself straight into first grade. He's a handy cricketer."
The addition of Dean also reunites him with his fellow former Western District and ACT Aces opener Nic Broes.
Dean is one of two 'zone of origin' players in the Wranglers squad - alongside former Rugby Union bowler Luke Powell - who currently play their cricket outside of the Central West but hail from the region.
Powell's return to a Central West representative side is also a big plus for the Wranglers.
He finished his Western District 2020-21 first grade campaign with 19 wickets at 24.3, and showed his Twenty20 credentials with a 16.3 average over nine games in the shorter format.
"I played a few seasons together with Powelly and we won a premiership together at Rugby," Qureshi said.
"He's a great fast bowler and he's been playing with Blake in Canberra, where I'm sure he's been able to take his game to the next level.
"We have such a solid squad. Anyone in there is capable of winning you the game. It's a special thing, having the opportunity to play at the SCG, and for us country boys it's not just for us, it's for our parents and families."
The Wranglers will take on their newly-named arch rivals Western Plains Outlaws in a big game at Wade Park on December 11.
Their remaining pool games will be away the following day against Illawarra Flames and South Coast Crew.