King of the SCG says goodbye
Michael Bevan, the man who amassed almost as many runs for New South Wales as Don Bradman and Steve Waugh combined, has turned his back on his home state and will see out his career with Tasmania.
Bevan spent the weekend swotting for his coaching certificate after signing a two-year contract with Tasmania as player and assistant coach.
At 34, he leaves behind an extraordinary record for the Blues: 37 first-class hundreds, five more than next-best Alan Kippax, and 9309 runs at 63.32. He is also, unsurprisingly, the state's most prodigious one-day player with 2400 runs at a phenomenal 61.53.
But the offer from Tasmania, he said, was too good to refuse. "I am very disappointed to be leaving NSW after such a long association. However ... I look forward to being able to hone my coaching skills to the benefit of Tasmania and in preparation for my eventual retirement from cricket."
An almost obsessive student of his own game, with a gift for bringing the best out of himself at the most opportune moments, Bevan has the raw qualities to be an exceptional coach.
Another motivation behind his move to Tasmania is money. Bevan lost his lucrative Cricket Australia contract earlier this year and The Sydney Morning Herald has speculated that Tasmania may have offered Bevan around $40,000 more than NSW could cough up.
The recruitment of Bevan and the unwanted but exciting Zimbabwean allrounder Andy Blignaut suggests Tasmania have more than adequately compensated for the loss of Shane Watson to Queensland.
The portents for NSW, who finished second from bottom last summer, are less encouraging. The departure of Bevan and the Waugh twins means they have lost three of their four greatest run-getters in history in a single off-season.
True Blue, Bevan's NSW record First-class: 105m, 9309r @ 63.32, hs216, 37x100s, 35x50s. One-day: 58m, 2400r @ 61.53, hs135*, 1x100, 21x50s