Victoria settle on Darren Berry's successor June 6, 2004

A decade on, Roach gets his chance

Wisden CricInfo staff

Peter Roach, the ever-patient deputy who has played only 18 first-class matches in nine seasons, would appear finally to have been anointed as Darren Berry's successor as Victorian wicketkeeper.

Berry, the most prolific keeper in Australian domestic history, retired after Victoria's steamrolling triumph last summer and Roach has been awarded a one-year contract, The Age newspaper has reported.

Now 29, Roach was a shock 20-year-old debutant back in 1995-96 when Berry was dumped - not strictly, perhaps, for reasons of form - from the state side. He grabbed his chance with both gloves, while also hitting half-centuries in his first two matches, and was a fixture in the side for the rest of the summer.

Then Les Stillman was dumped as coach, Berry found himself back as keeper and Roach has been sighted only occasionally since, filling in fleetingly last season when Berry broke a finger.

A certain degree of tension has reportedly festered between the pair, with Roach revealing at one point last summer: "We don't have a relationship ... In a team, whether you're made for each or not, you become fairly good mates because you share a fair bit of your life together. But technically, we are always against each other."

Roach is considered an accomplished keeper and has a first-class average of 37 - almost double Berry's - with the bat. Another talented wicketkeeper, 19-year-old Adam Crosthwaite, has again been signed up on a rookie contract.

Liam Buchanan and Will Carr have reportedly been dropped from Victoria's squad, which will probably be announced on Tuesday. The former Tasmanian quick Gerard Denton, 19-year-old left-hander Aiden Blizzard and allrounder Brendan Joseland are expected to be among the newcomers.