Runs the key to Tasmania's chances of success

New-ball attack remains strong but they need bigger scores from the top-order in both forms to compliment the bowling unit

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Ben McDermott pulls through square leg  •  Getty Images

Ben McDermott pulls through square leg  •  Getty Images

Captain Matthew Wade
Coach Ali de Winter (interim)
September 28-October 1: Queensland (Sheffield Shield), Ian Healy Oval
October 3: Queensland (Marsh Cup), Ian Healy Oval
Winter moves
Two of the biggest moves came in the coaching ranks with Jeff Vaughan departing Tasmania to take up a role as an assistant coach with the Australia men's team. Vaughan was Tasmania's Sheffield Shield coach for the past two seasons after head coach Adam Griffith stood down from the red-ball coaching duties to spread the load and focus on the Hobart Hurricanes program. Griffith remains a key part of the Tigers coaching set-up but his IPL commitments with Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he is a bowling coach, mean Ali de Winter has been drafted in as interim Shield coach and Greg Shipperd returns to Tasmania as a coaching consultant. The playing squad has remained largely the same. Alex Doolan has retired and there was some turnover amongst the rookies with ambidextrous spinner Nivethan Radhakrishnan and former WA allrounder Brad Hope joining the squad.
R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Tom Andrews, Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Iain Carlisle, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, Jarrod Freeman (R), Brad Hope (R), Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Mitch Owen (R), Tim Paine (CA), Nivethan Radhakrishnan (R), Sam Rainbird, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk, Mac Wright, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim, Tim Ward, Beau Webster
Last season
Tasmania finished the Shield season exceptionally well with two outstanding wins against New South Wales and Western Australia but they were winless in their first six matches and lost twice to Queensland and New South Wales from positions of dominance, with the Blues winning after conceding a 175-run first innings lead while the Bulls chased down 310 on the final day in Hobart. Tasmania's new-ball attack was excellent all year in the first innings but had some trouble backing up a second time. They bowled NSW out for 64 and 32 in two separate fixtures.
Jackson Bird led the way with 35 wickets at 22.17 and Peter Siddle proved an outstanding recruit. The batting issues were more to do with an inability to convert starts rather than any major collapses. Ben McDermott and Matthew Wade made nine half-centuries between them in just 15 combined innings but no three-figure scores while none of Tasmania's six centuries were in excess of 140, which was well short of what other teams were producing, particularly on the flat early-season pitches in the Adelaide hub.
In the Marsh Cup they also produced middling results finishing with two wins from five matches. They failed to score more than 260 in any match, with Jordan Silk's 77 being the highest individual score for the season.
Player to watch
Riley Meredith continues to be a player to keep an eye on given his skill set as one of Australia's fastest bowlers. He opted out of the second half of the IPL following a side injury during Australia's limited-overs tour of the Caribbean. He has continued to make improvements to his run-up and action with Griffith to help with his consistency and there is an expectation among Tasmania's hierarchy that he will get even better in both white and red-ball cricket this season. From a batting perspective, Caleb Jewell came of age last season after a number of years in the domestic system and will get plenty of opportunities in the top order in both forms.
Australia radar
Nathan Ellis is on the verge of becoming an integral part of Australia's T20 side moving forward and could start to be considered in the 50-over side as Australia look to develop their bowling options for the next few limited-overs World Cups. Meredith will likewise be a player of interest for the Australia selectors. Ben McDermott got plenty of opportunities in West Indies and Bangladesh but was unable to take his chances to cement a spot in the T20 World Cup, although there were some mitigating personal circumstances. Some valuable time at home and an extended run of domestic games will give him a chance to put his name back in front of the selectors if he can turn the consistent half-centuries from last summer into big three-figure scores.
Matthew Wade is in Australia's T20 World Cup squad but has publicly acknowledged it could be one of his last assignments for Australia after losing his Test place at the end of last summer. Tim Paine has a fitness cloud over him after neck surgery and is likely to be sidelined until November but is confident of being fit to face England

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo