Sheffield Shield, 2011-12

States of anticipation

Daniel Brettig

October 10, 2011

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Australia's domestic summer begins with an early round of matches before the national team departs for South Africa, and there will be much interest in the progress of state teams since the Argus review's edicts about their strength being of paramount importance to the health of the game. Ahead of the first Sheffield Shield fixtures, ESPNcricinfo runs an eye past each state team, starting with last summer's winners Tasmania.


Tasmania celebrate their triumph in the Sheffield Shield final, Tasmania v New South Wales, Sheffield Shield final, Hobart, March 21, 2011
Which team will be all smiles by the end of the Australian domestic summer? © Getty Images
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Tasmania

The Tigers have the benefit of last summer's success to carry them forward, and are also aided by the retention of a highly skilled and unified support staff to keep the players' development and wellness in hand. George Bailey is perhaps the most popular captain in the country, while a solid batting ensemble will expect continued sparks of brilliance from the bat of Mark Cosgrove. Bowlers including Luke Butterworth and Ben Hilfenhaus - in need of a stand-out summer to return to Australia calculations - may be challenged by pitches expected to offer a little less for seam and swing than last season's rain-dampened surfaces.

Squad: George Bailey, Jackson Bird, Luke Butterworth, Steven Cazzulino, Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan, Matthew Day, Xavier Doherty, Alex Doolan, Brendan Drew, James Faulkner, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Matt Johnston, Jason Krejza, Nick Kruger, Adam Maher, Ashton May, Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting, Sam Rainbird, Marc Simonds, Jeremy Smith, Tom Triffitt

New South Wales

A new coach in Anthony Stuart and a rankled captain in Simon Katich will offer the Blues plenty of incentive for trophies this summer. Katich has been widely predicted to dominate the domestic runs aggregates as he seeks to prove wrong the exceptionally cold selection logic that had him dropped from the list of Cricket Australia contracts. Elsewhere NSW will have quite a task to juggle the bowling resources at their disposal, with the likes of Doug Bollinger, Trent Copeland, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc all pushing for national selection even if all cannot be fit in a single NSW XI. The not-quite-retired Stuart Clark, meanwhile, will wait in the wings if needed.

Squad: Sean Abbott, Nicholas Bills, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Brain, Beau Casson, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Burt Cockley, Trent Copeland, Pat Cummins, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Phillip Hughes, Phil Jaques, Simon Katich, Usman Khawaja, Brett Lee, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Rohrer, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Timm van der Gugten, David Warner, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa

Queensland

Queensland now bear the stamp of their new coach, Darren Lehmann, who managed to sway some sceptical members of the squad to his methods after the acrimonious unseating of his predecessor Trevor Barsby last summer. Queensland have made one intelligent recruiting decision by picking up Peter Forrest, underused in NSW and likely to add spine to the batting. Much is also expected of the youthful duo of Chris Lynn and Joe Burns, while the pace triumvirate of Ben Cutting, Luke Feldman (currently injured) and Chris Swan can expect some support from Steve Magoffin, returned from Western Australia.

Squad: Corey Barsby, Cameron Boyce, Ryan Broad, Nick Buchanan, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Ben Dunk, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Ryan Harris, Chris Hartley, James Hopes, Alex Kemp, Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson, Nathan Reardon, Andrew Robinson, Nick Stevens, Chris Swan, Scott Walter

Western Australia

After spending his first year as Western Australia's coach sorting the wheat from the chaff and instilling higher standards of rigour, Mickey Arthur expects his group to succeed this summer. The Warriors have made a handful of acquisitions, picking up the likes of Travis Birt, Mark Cameron and Nathan Rimmington, in order to bolster a promising collection of young bucks. All will have roles to play, and the bustling fast man Cameron can be expected to profit from the WACA ground's bounce. Luke Pomersbach's absence to deal with issues of depression is a sad sub-plot. The state captain Marcus North, by contrast, has been refreshed by his first off-season at home in years, and will want to lead WA to a domestic trophy after years of underachievement.

Squad: Tom Beaton, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Travis Birt, Mark Cameron, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Liam Davis, Ryan Duffield, Marcus Harris, Michael Hogan, Michael Hussey, Michael Johnson, Mitchell Johnson, Brad Knowles, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Marcus North, Joel Paris, Martin Paskal, Luke Pomersbach, Nathan Rimmington, Wes Robinson, Luke Ronchi, Adam Voges

Victoria

Victoria let lofty standards dip last summer, and the Bushrangers are adamant they will not let the downturn be prolonged. John Hastings is a part of the group in name only after shoulder surgery ruled him out for the season. Andrew McDonald, James Pattinson and Matthew Wade will be among those pushing particularly hard for Australian recognition, while the captain Cameron White is also intent on forcing his way back into the ODI team at least. Greg Shipperd and his assistant Simon Helmot have split the coaching duties, leaving the Shield team with Shipperd while Helmot looks after the limited overs combination.

Squad: Scott Boland, Ryan Carters, Mark Cleary, Aaron Finch, Brett Forsyth, Steven Gilmour, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Jayde Herrick, Michael Hill, Brad Hodge, Jon Holland, David Hussey, Alex Keath, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Glenn Maxwell, Darren Pattinson, James Pattinson, Robert Quiney, Steven Reid, Chris Rogers, William Sheridan, Peter Siddle, Matthew Wade, Cameron White

South Australia

South Australia are the third team to start 2011-12 with a new coach, Darren Berry having been promoted from the Twenty20 job to take in all formats. His task is a steep one, given his team's lowly finishes in the Shield and limited-overs competitions last summer, obscured only partly by T20 success. There is talent in the squad, as the likes of the captain Michael Klinger, Callum Ferguson, Aiden Blizzard and Daniel Christian will all attempt to make a consistent impression on opponents. But the bowlers will need to find another gear, particularly as the off spinner Nathan Lyon can be expected to be playing for Australia as often as not.

Squad: Cullen Bailey, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Borgas, Daniel Christian, Tom Cooper, Mick Delaney, Theo Doropoulos, Ben Dougall, Callum Ferguson, Peter George, Jake Haberfield, Daniel Harris, Michael Klinger, Tim Ludeman, Nathan Lyon, Joe Mennie, Aaron O'Brien, Elliot Opie, Gary Putland, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, James Smith, Tom Thornton

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by hyclass on (October 13, 2011, 5:49 GMT)

Since when did age mean excellence? Older players are not better by virtue of their age & younger players are not better by virtue of their youth. All that seperates the men from the boys is excellence of performance,WHATEVER age it occurs at. If that doesnt exist,then no amount of imagination or theorising will change it.As Nielsen has demonstrated,coaching is not a panacea for mediocrity.Hilditch has demonstrated the folly of selecting without supporting records.The place for players to PROVE themselves,is & always has been Shield,List A & Australia A.The professional system was created around 2 decades ago to circumvent the undermining of the national side through simultaneous retirements,identify & promote talent & create a succession system.Argus was quick to identify that the flaws were not with the system that CA inherited but in the new & non-performance based manner with which it was administered.I highlighted systemic problems 3 years ago.The review was a while in coming.

Posted by hyclass on (October 13, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

@HatsForBats..you have implied it is acceptable in 'perceived' long term interests,to select a sub-standard team in the short term,with players whose performances are not yet known,only guessed at,based on their age or chosen disciplines.If,as you correctly point out,selection is about country & not individuals,then age will be irrelevent & performance the only criterion.Since when did country care about age.It doesnt.Only results.According to Argus,its CA mis-administration,random selctions sans performance re your criterion & sub standard appointments responsible. There is not the slightest proof that your concept will succeed or that the players chosen will prove their worth.It kicks sand in the face of 130 years of selecting on merit & through Shield performances over time & suggests that older players harbouring the skills,performance and work ethic that garners them exceptional results,should retire because a discriminatory and arbitrary selection policy is being promulgated.

Posted by Meety on (October 12, 2011, 1:55 GMT)

@HatsforBats - the 26% (which is about what AFL & NRL players get, for that matter NFL too I think), I believe is Cric Oz revenue distributed to contracted State & National players, (remembering that the States have a "minimum wage" of around $70k not inc Rookies). I think currently the player pool is about 23% (I think). @HatsforBats/Hyclass - "The ONLY policy should be to ignore age & select the best performing players." - IMO too simplistic. As a base to work from I agree with you @Hyclass, but other factors obviously need to be weighed up. Yes to performance, they have to be scoring runs & taking wickets, in the case of Cummins, he has obviously has a certain something about him & I can understand that SOME doors have opened for him more quickly than others, as 150kph @ a8yrs of age with a degree of skill is rare. However, to me someone like Butterworth is ahead on merit for a Test (even a bloody contract). As I said earlier - we have State Rookie contracts, why not National too?

Posted by   on (October 11, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

I can see NSW dominating this season. Simon Katich alone will be enough. Silly move dropping him from the Auz side.

Posted by HatsforBats on (October 11, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

@ hyclass: age has to be a factor in selection. If the logical extension of age discrimination is mandatory retirement then it is inevitable that selecting without age bias will result in a team of 36yr olds who all retire at the same time, and we have seen how that affects the performance of the national team. Young talents have been picked at the expense of veteran performers many times in the history of cricket because a young player who could potentially play for 15yrs cutting their teeth at the highest level benefits the team more than a 36yr old veteran who might retire in 2yrs. People forget that the national team represents the country, not the players themselves, and what is best for the team in the long term is not always what is good in the short term.

Posted by HatsforBats on (October 11, 2011, 4:43 GMT)

@ Meety: Well, it looks like you're well ahead of me on these topics! Does the 26% come from domestic AND international revenue streams? Player renumeration should just be proportional to the duties undertaken for those domestic/international teams (I guess we agree?). On a related topic: I would like to know the contract details which determined Lee & Bollinger had to play for their IPL teams rather than NSW. Surely their contract to NSW should have priority?

Posted by Woody111 on (October 11, 2011, 2:29 GMT)

As big a fan as I am of Ronnie he's missed the boat now. He was treated poorly by CA but that's history now. I'm far from excited about South Australia's prospects. We lost players the season before last and don't seem to have picked up any for this season. I don't know what Peter George's situation is but he's vital if we're any chance of taking 20 wickets. Klinger had a poor year last year and so runs from him will mean alot but apart from Harris I don't think there's much support. Christian has a huge heart but not the skill or consistency to match. I anticipate more top order failures this season which was a huge issue last year. Darren Berry as coach is a great move but there's only so much he can do. Guys like Borgas, Cooper and Putland have to step up this season and show there's pressure on spots. Last year the batting lineup was a revolving door. Perhaps it's fortunate that Ferguson has been forgotten about by CA somewhat!

Posted by Meety on (October 11, 2011, 2:12 GMT)

@Jono Makim - couldn't help it but at about Lunch Day 1 of the Shield between QLD & Victoria, the 1st wicket taker was AB Mac (ahead of Test players Pattinson, Siddle & McKay) he had a spell of 7 overs 1 for 10 & QLD were 1/81.

Posted by hyclass on (October 11, 2011, 0:55 GMT)

The ONLY policy should be to ignore age & select the best performing players,regardless of how long it is perceived they will continue.Shield is the creche for young players,not the national side.There are enough Australia A,List A,Shield & 20/20 games to cater for everyone.Youth is a guarantee of nothing except inexperience.Far from that which some are implying,the current squads are replete with inexperienced players.When will people be happy?When there are no experienced players left?How will that help?Its the reversal of a philosophy that has succeeded for 130 years at Test level.McDonalds recent record is outstanding.He is only 30.At what age should players be forced to retire and why,if their performance exceeds that of others?The natural extension of the age discrimination policy is mandatory retirement.What age is being suggested and what if a player reaches that age during a Test match while scoring a century or taking 5 wickets.The further it goes the more mindless it becomes

Posted by Meety on (October 11, 2011, 0:42 GMT)

@ HatsforBats - I said a while back (during the Katich no contract fiasco), that our contracts list should be expanded to 30, with a couple of T20 specialist & ODI positions + some Rookie contracts. This would mean that a young gun like Cummins wouldn't necessarily be included on the list at the expense of someone like Katich. It gives scope to allow someone like Lee to have a specialist contract. You could also give a contract to someone like Maxwell a T20 contract - whilst he is trying to make his way in the Shield, his short form stats are such that he should be rewarded in that category. I think I had the remaining TEST contracts at 22, which would work well as a Possibles/Probables play off! == == == @HatsforBats - just on contracts - the players association wants 26% of revenue, IMO if they want & get that, it should be conditional on NOT playing in foreign competitions in conflict of National duties. So someone like Mike Hussey, could opt for a lessor contract & play whereever

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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