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