WHAT does it take to play cricket for Dorset?

Well, a great deal of talent first of all.

Cricketers at National Counties (NCCA) level are often proficient in all three disciplines of the game, whether it be bowling, batting or fielding.

Selection has often gone to those playing at Southern League level, or players on the cusp of first-team cricket at one of the 18 major counties.

However, in recent seasons, players from the Dorset League - the tier below Southern League level - have attracted the gaze of Dorset's selectors.

Dorchester's Jon Legg, then of Cattistock, took a hugely impressive 6-58 against Shropshire on his county debut in August 2018.

READ MORE: Dorset win final-ball thriller at Cornwall

Dorchy clubmate James Caldwell was selected for Dorset against Devon last season, only for the fixture to be abandoned due to pitch difficulties.

Martinstown's wicketkeeper-batsman Ed Nichols is another with Dorset experience in 2017, while Wimborne seamer Ed Bartlett also featured for the county in 2018 and 2019.

Rob Wigley, of Sherborne, has already played for Dorset this season, helping bat them to victory over Cornwall.

Several selections in that game were predicated on a stringent new set of criteria laid out under the revamped NCCA format.

Players must either have been born in the county, educated in the county, played in the county age groups or played for a Dorset-affiliated club - including North Perrott and Bashley.

NCCA clubs must select eight players under the age of 25 with three outsiders, including overseas signings.

Hampshire players Scott Currie and Tom Prest can play for Dorset when their county schedule permits.

Felix Organ, formerly of Canford School, is also eligible.

Brad Currie and ex-Weymouth all-rounder Ben Ladd-Gibbon are available but both men missed the Cornwall win due to a hamstring injury and work commitments respectively.

Dorset's squad for that contest contained six debutants in the shape of Wigley, Bashley's Ben Fletcher, Bournemouth duo Rob Pack and Simon Woodruff plus free agents and ex-Hampshire batsmen Oli Soames and Harry Came.

Came is also trialling for Derbyshire.

Additionally, there are rumours of Dorset's interest in Wigley's Sherborne teammate Josh Lawrence, who has experience with Somerset Seconds and Surrey Seconds.

So, while the required standard for Dorset is unquestionably high, there are growing NCCA opportunities for cricketers within the Dorset League structure - if they can prove their quality.