Pakistan v Australia 2010

Test trio show Tasmania's progress

Brydon Coverdale

July 11, 2010

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Ricky Ponting and Ben Hilfenhaus discuss field settings, England v Australia, 4th Test, Headingley, 1st day, August 7, 2009
Ricky Ponting has shown the way for budding Tasmanian cricketers © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ben Hilfenhaus | Tim Paine | Ricky Ponting
Teams: Australia

Australia's Test against Pakistan at Lord's this week will be a historic occasion for a number of reasons, not least as the first neutral Test in England since 1912. But when the teams take the field on Tuesday, it will also be a special moment for Australia's smallest state; for the first time three Tasmanians will be playing together in the Test team.

Tim Paine, Ben Hilfenhaus and Ricky Ponting will ensure more than adequate representation for the state, which accounts for only 2% of the nation's population. It has been a long road to this point, for over the first hundred years of Test cricket, Tasmania produced only three Test representatives: Ken Burn, Charles Eady and Laurie Nash, although others like Sam Morris and Max Walker had been born there before moving to the mainland.

Now the state has that many in one team. It's not surprising that it took so long, for until the late 1970s, Tasmania wasn't included in the Sheffield Shield. They won the competition for the first time in 2006-07 and have lifted the state one-day trophy three times in the past six years, so it was only a matter of time before their numbers in the Test outfit grew.

Tasmania's Test cricketers

"I think it is a great thing for Tassie cricket," Paine, who will make his debut on Tuesday, said. "The last few years we have started to win some titles down there and I suppose with more team success there has been more individual success so we are starting to build a good group down there. There were three or four guys playing for Australia A last week so it is good that the Tassie boys are starting to be recognised."

In the 1980s, men like Roger Woolley and Greg Campbell broke into the Test team, but David Boon was the man who really put Tasmania on the world cricket map. At the tail end of his career, he handed over to the Launceston boy, Ponting, and they played three Tests together in 1995-96 before Boon's international career ended.

At that stage, Hilfenhaus was 12 and Paine was 11. They'd grown up with Boon as their state hero and watched as Ponting went on to become one of the game's undisputed modern champions.

"Seeing them do really well, it was a goal to look towards," Hilfenhaus said. "[Ponting] definitely gives you a bit of belief, doesn't he? He is one of the greatest players of all time so obviously him being a Tasmanian has been a good thing as well."

For Hilfenhaus, the Lord's Test will not only be a Tasmanian milestone but a personal achievement as well, the culmination of a long period of recovery from knee tendonitis that has kept him out of action since November. He bowled 13 overs in the tour match in Derby, where he collected 1 for 32, and after the match he said he was learning to push through the pain barrier.

"I wouldn't say there's no soreness," Hilfenhaus said. "There's still a bit of a niggle there, and from the reports from the experts it's probably going to hang around for another six to twelve months. But it's at the stage now where it's very manageable and can cope with the workloads."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Posted by Bayman on (July 13, 2010, 4:40 GMT)

Since others have raised the issue it's only fair to mention, for accuracy, that Laurie Nash was born in Victoria and only went to Tassie when the family moved there for work. From memory of his record, he played one Test (in 1931/32) as a "Tasmanian" and a second (in 1936/37) after moving back to Victoria. Curiously, since the introduction of the Sheffield Shield, he was then and I think still is the only player to play Test cricket for Australia without ever having played a Shield game. Ten wickets in two games and not invited back. Extraordinary! And to think he once kicked 18 goals for Victoria against South Australia as a VFL footballer after which he said he would have got more but his teammates wouldn't kick the ball to him. The great "LJ" did not lack confidence.

Posted by Meety on (July 12, 2010, 9:59 GMT)

@Redneck - The Aus team should be 1. Hughes, 2.Katich, 3. Ponting - because he lives in Sydney, 4. Clarke, 5. Khawaja, 6. S Smith, 7. Peter Neville, 8. S O'Keefe, 9. Clark, 10. Bollinger, 11. Hazlewood - 12th man can be Peter Forrest.

Posted by anospi on (July 12, 2010, 7:47 GMT)

What about Michael Holding then? He played a season with Tassie. So did Richard Hadlee. And more recently, Lasith Malinga. Yes, these guys are born and bred Tasmanian, and that's what makes this Australian side special.

Posted by smudgeon on (July 12, 2010, 4:47 GMT)

It's nice to note that not only are these three Tasmanian players, they were born & raised in Tasmania. Best of luck, guys - you've all earned it.

Redneck: I believe two of the selector are Tasmanian as well (Boon & Cox)! NSW might well secede over this...

Posted by redneck on (July 12, 2010, 1:42 GMT)

do the selectors know about this???? im sure they dont, if they had im sure they would have chosen a couple more new south welsh man instead!!! NSW cricket must be outraged, they only have 5 players in the 11! this may be a truely australian team for a change!

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (July 12, 2010, 1:24 GMT)

Max Walker went to Victoria for a few reasons, for a start he qualified as an architect at RMIT, he also played for 85 matches for Melbourne in the VFL and had never played senior football in Tasmania.

Posted by Chris_P on (July 11, 2010, 23:49 GMT)

@Gilly4ever, this article is ablout players being selected for Australia whilst playing for Tasmania and the only assumption you provided that was correct was Shane Watson, who should be in this list. Colin Miller was literally discarded by both Victoria and Sth Australia before making his way to Tasmania, rediscovering new strings to his talents and being selected for Australia. He quite rightly sits in this list and Max Walker was a Victorian (albeit self professed proud born & bred Tasmanian) when selected for Australia. He also, btw, also went to Melbourne to play VFL football for Melbourne (and succesfully for a few seasons) so cricket was not the single reason he went there. This article, again, is about players who were representing Tasmania at the time of test selection.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (July 11, 2010, 11:23 GMT)

Some other inaccuracies: 1) Colin Miller was Victorian, not Tasmanian. 2) Shane Watson was playing for Tasmania as at when he was selected for Australia (though he wasn't born in Tasmania so shouldn't count). Dennis Lillee and Carl Rackemann even played for Tasmania at some point in their careers (though they shouldn't count either).

Surely it should be a list of people BORN in Tasmania, for it to have any relevance at all. Excluding Max Walker is a travesty.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (July 11, 2010, 11:20 GMT)

I don't see why you wouldn't count Max Walker. He was born in Tasmania and grew up in Tasmania. The only reason he went to Victoria was because at that time Tasmania didn't have a Sheffield Shield team and he had no chance at the elite level. I think that people like Max Walker should be counted in statistics as being Tasmanian.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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