Ashley Allan Noffke
April 30, 1977, Nambour, Queensland
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Ashley Noffke bounced into a Cricket Australia contract and on to an Ashes tour in 2001 and has stayed in the back of the national selectors' minds ever since. In three seasons leading up to a disrupted 2008-09, he rediscovered the penetration that earned early comparisons with Glenn McGrath, and heavy contributions with bat and ball led to national Twenty20 and ODI debuts in 2007-08. While his first international act was to be run-out without facing a ball against New Zealand, he returned to capture 3 for 18 and played the second Twenty20 of the summer against India. Staying with the squad for the opening match of the CB Series, he overcame a nervous first over to collect 1 for 46 in front of his home supporters at the Gabba.
A place in the Test squad for the West Indies followed, but he was not called to make his debut and then missed a spot on the India tour. The next summer was stalled by a nagging hip injury, which led to nine games for Queensland and a lost national contract. When offered a reduced deal for 2009-10 by the state, which no longer viewed him as a first-choice limited-overs player, he took up a two-year appointment with Western Australia. His first summer with the Warriors was mixed; he topped their FR Cup wicket tally with 10 at 24.40, but in the Sheffield Shield his 10 at 52.20 was a disappointing result. In his last uninterrupted season with Queensland he had collected 51 first-class wickets and scored 741 runs, making him the third Australian behind George Giffen and Greg Matthews to capture the 50-wicket, 500-run season double. Nobody in either discipline could match Noffke at Queensland as he tried to drag them off the bottom of the Pura Cup table, and he was recognised as the country's State Player of the Year.
It was a satisfying set of jumps after he struggled between 2003 and 2005 with back and ankle problems that sat next to inflated averages. Hoping to enjoy endless summers, he seemed to suffer from off-season stints with Middlesex and Durham that twice ended in early flights home. Noffke's Ashes experience also finished in the same way after he rolled his ankle attempting a soccer-style run-out in the tour match against Sussex. It was a painful conclusion to an encouraging trip of three games, but he lost his national contract the following year before recapturing it with 41 first-class victims at 22.65 in 2002-03. The return gained him a second tour with the Australians, and he played two games in the West Indies on the way to re-joining Middlesex and picking up a back problem. There were some difficult years before Noffke earned a recall to Australia A colours in 2006-07 for a trip to Pakistan. His 30 Pura Cup wickets at 24.30 were complemented by two half-centuries and a strong FR Cup campaign led to the Queensland Player of the Year prize and a spot in Australia's preliminary Twenty20 world championship squad.
Hailing from the Sunshine Coast, Noffke bowls with good rhythm from a high, clean and uncomplicated action and develops excellent pace through most of his spells. The Bulls' wealth of riches in the pace bowling department ensured it was not until 2000-01 that he made a real mark at interstate level. Man-of-the-Match performances in the opening game of the summer's Mercantile Mutual Cup program and the Pura Cup final, when he mixed 43 as nightwatchman with seven wickets for the game, headlined his rise. A former Academy associate scholarship holder, Noffke was the leading wicket taker in Brisbane grade cricket in both 1997-98 and 1998-99 and the Queensland Academy of Sport Player of the Year in 1998-99. To add to his skills with the ball, he spent a lot of time developing his lower-order batting, and in 2003-04 raised his maiden first-class century with 114 not out against South Australia. Noffke uses the lessons learned through a business degree to help his growing property interests.
Cricinfo staff September 2010
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