Australia news March 14, 2012

Bird soars to Sheffield Shield award


The fast bowler Jackson Bird has been named the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year after a remarkable debut season for Tasmania. Bird, 25, moved from New South Wales to Hobart last winter after being offered his first state contract and he has rewarded the Tigers by topping the Sheffield Shield wicket tally and helping them reach the Shield final against Queensland, which starts on Friday.

Bird was handed his prize at the State Cricket Awards in Brisbane, winning the peer-voted award on 21 votes, ahead of Queensland's Ben Cutting on 16, and a further three players - George Bailey, Ed Cowan and Liam Davis - all on 15. Bird did not make his first-class debut until the fourth game of Tasmania's campaign, but he quickly made up for lost time.

In his seven matches he has collected five five-wicket hauls and twice has taken ten wickets in a match. He also completed a hat-trick in Tasmania's most recent game, and has surprised all onlookers, including the Tasmania bowling coach Ali de Winter, who recruited Bird after being impressed by his work in Sydney grade cricket and in the New South Wales Second XI.

"It's been an outstanding year for him, with 48 wickets in just the seven games," de Winter told ESPNcricinfo after the awards. "It's his consistency across all games and on various surfaces across the country that has been the really pleasing thing. His bowling has been way above expectations for us."

The South Australia batsman Tom Cooper was named the Ryobi Cup Player of the Year for his 366 runs at an average of 73.20. Cowan finished second in the one-day poll and Klinger, who led South Australia to the title and scored 81 in the final having made 112 in the game that secured them the home decider, came third.

The ACA teams of the year for the three formats were also named, with Cooper and Victoria's Rob Quiney the only m3n to feature in both the four-day and one-day 12-man squads. Surprisingly, the T20 side did not feature any players from the Sydney Sixers, who won the tournament.

Leah Poulton and Lisa Sthalekar shared the Women's National Cricket League award and Meg Lanning was named the Women's T20 Player of the Year. The New South Wales fast bowler Josh Lalor was named the Lord's Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year. Simon Taufel won the Cricket Australia Umpire Award. Queensland won the Benaud Spirit of Cricket Award and the New South Wales women's side won the WNCL Spirit of Cricket Award.

Four-day Team of the Year Rob Quiney, Liam Davis, George Bailey (capt), Peter Forrest, Adam Voges (vice-capt), Daniel Christian, Peter Nevill (wk), Ben Cutting, Jayde Herrick, Jackson Bird, Michael Hogan, Tom Cooper (12th man).

One-day Interstate Team of the Year Michael Klinger (capt), Matthew Wade (wk), Ed Cowan (vice-capt), Tom Cooper, Nathan Reardon, Rob Quiney, James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Jason Krejza, Alister McDermott, Callum Ferguson (12th man).

Big Bash League Team of the Year Chris Gayle (vice-capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Travis Birt, Owais Shah, David Hussey (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Shahid Afridi, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Brad Hogg, Daniel Christian (12th man).

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Andrew on March 16, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    @zenboomerang - I would be very cautious about increasing the number of State teams even with the inclusion of NZ. I support NZ being included in short formats, & I would like to see an ACT side playing in the Shield. However, one of the great things about Shield cricket, is that it mimics test cricket pretty well & often you can play poorly one week & not get to play another Shield match for two or three weeks. This is critical as in County cricket, (great schooling environment), however players can get lazy as there is always next week if they duff this match. The extra travel wouldn't be great particularly as for the season to be fair, it should be home & away & ten teams would almost double the schedule. I would be more in favour of opening up the Futures League to NZ teams particularly if it remains a genuine 2nd XI competition, (no age restrictions). @DragonCricketer - I think it is cos of all the good bowlers, decent batsmen are not shining. I think it'll make the step up easier

  • Roo on March 15, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Aubm... Agree - time in the middle at FC level is important to improving skills... It probably will never happen but I think a 10 team Shield comp (1-2 NZ teams) would greatly improve our player base... NSW & Vic could easily add another team each to the comp (like the BBL) & an ACT team...

  • Michael on March 15, 2012, 1:17 GMT

    @mick82, the problem with up and comers in NSW is they never get extended runs in the state side, with their spots being taken by returning internationals even if they had a good game. This is why I think when a player moves to tas, for example, and gets to play every match, they all of a sudden start improving faster.

  • Mick on March 14, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    @popcorn how exactly do you smell a jewell?? but you are right about NSW. Why do guys leave NSW and then become leading shield players?? whats wrong with the development of players at state level that as soon as they leave they grow an extra leg?

  • David on March 14, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Where have all these fast bowlers come from ?? Aust must have about 10 high quality pacemen now. But where are all the batsmen??

  • David on March 14, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    As one of the ABC commentators said, "Jackson Bird. What a great name" Should be playing NBA with a name like that.

  • Kenso on March 14, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Surely this proves NSW talent for unearthing cricketing talent. Forest, Cowan, Cooper now Bird its been happening for years (Even the great Allan Border was born in NSW!) Maybe we should be allowed to run to state sides in the domestic comp... we have enough depth! Good to see Callum Fergusons name still respected by his peers. He was really establishing himself as a quality Aussie middle order ODI bat until injury.

  • Mariam on March 14, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Players like Hughes and Khawaja couldn't push for their spots in these teams as they played less then half of the season, expect both of them and in particular Khawaja to bounce back strongly in the coming sheild season

  • Randolph on March 14, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Surely Tom Cooper is starting to ring some selector's bells.

  • Brendan on March 14, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    All these teams would be formidable on any given day, hats off to the selectors on a tough job. That 20/20 team, would be awesome to see out on the field, maybe against an Aussie All Star team. Sifter132, not enough games played, for Cowan, check Pete Siddles, stats in the 3 or 4 games he played, they are awesome to.

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