Christopher Desmond Hartley
May 24, 1982, Nambour, Queensland
Left hand bat
Chris Hartley might not be far off from the best wicketkeeper never to have played for Australia. He finished his 13-year domestic career in March 2017 with the record for most dismissals behind the stumps in Sheffield Shield history, going past Darren Berry's 546.
Things could have been so different though. On September 21, 2005, he was catapulted on to Australia A's tour of Pakistan on the same day Wade Seccombe announced his retirement after 12 first-class seasons. Brad Haddin, Australia's No. 2, had succumbed to a broken finger and Hartley, the then 23-year-old Queensland understudy, beat Victoria's Adam Crosthwaite and Western Australia's Luke Ronchi into the squad for the three-match one-day series.
However, his spot in the pecking order dropped and in 2009 he was overtaken by Graham Manou, who was chosen for the Ashes tour as Haddin's deputy. (He did get a brief call to stand in for Australia in England for a tour match when Haddin and Manou were hurt before Tim Paine arrived.) This was despite Hartley capturing a personal best of 54 dismissals, three behind Victoria's Matthew Wade and 21 ahead of Manou. The collection was improved by 524 Sheffield Shield runs, including 102 and 121 in consecutive games, to make the summer the best of his career. He also set a record by not conceding a bye as Victoria scored 806 in the final preliminary game of the campaign, helping him pick up the state's Sheffield Shield Player of the Year prize.
The following season was even better as he starred with bat and gloves to win the Ian Healy Trophy as Queensland's best player. He became only the second wicketkeeper behind Haddin to collect 800 runs in a Shield campaign, finishing with 827 at 48.64, including two hundreds, and collected 43 catches and a stumping.
An Australia Under-19 and Academy representative, Hartley, a hard-hitting left-hander, became the first Queensland player since Matthew Hayden to score a century on state debut when he made 103 against South Australia in 2003-04. The 2005-06 season was also productive with the bat - he hit 401 runs in the Pura Cup and added 188 at 31.33 in the one-day competition - but it was his glovework that was most impressive. Collecting seven catches in the Pura Cup final victory, he finished his first full summer with 53 dismissals, and backed up with another 48 the following year and 33 in 2007-08. Useful batting gains, including 355 Pura Cup runs in 2006-07 and 333 in 2007-08, added value as he continued the fine tradition of Queensland wicketkeepers.
Peter English and ESPNcricinfo staff
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