The only way is up for South Australia amid reality of tough rebuild

Winless across both competitions last season, the Redbacks need to find answers

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Henry Hunt drives during his century, Victoria vs South Australia, Sheffield Shield, Junction Oval, April 6, 2021

Henry Hunt was one of the bright spots last season  •  Getty Images

Captain Travis Head
Coach Jason Gillespie
September 22: Western Australia (Marsh Cup), Karen Rolton Oval
September 24-27: Western Australia (Sheffield Shield), Karen Rolton Oval
Winter moves
Brendan Doggett's arrival from Queensland, after a 2020-21 title-winning campaign where he took 22 wickets at 26.81, has been one of the most significant off-season switches as South Australia look to bring some firepower into an attack that toiled through the last Sheffield Shield and has since lost the retired Chadd Sayers. Nathan McSweeney has also made the move from Queensland while allrounder Nathan McAndrew has come from New South Wales. Batter Jake Carder is another signing from Western Australia. Dan Worrall will play one more season before relocating to the UK.
R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Wes Agar, Jordan Buckingham (R), Alex Carey (CA), Bailey Capel (R), Kyle Brazell (R), Jake Carder, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Ryan Gibson, David Grant, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Corey Kelly (R), Thomas Kelly (R), Samuel Kerber, Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Tim Oakley, Lloyd Pope, Kane Richardson (CA), Liam Scott, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Daniel Worrall.
Last season
Winless across both the Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup, it was a torrid season with their fourth consecutive wooden spoon in the Shield. None of the regular bowlers took their wickets below 45 in first-class cricket although the overall results were perhaps not the fairest reflection as they came within one wicket of beating Western Australia, were willing to set up a game against New South Wales and didn't even get on the field in Queensland. In the one-day competition they came close to chasing down 370 in Perth (and should have done it from 1 for 280) but were on the end of hidings by Tasmania and Queensland. Unlike last year, coach Jason Gillespie has been able to spend a full pre-season with the team for the first time since taking over.
Player to watch
The development of Henry Hunt at the top of the order was one of few positives of the season as he averaged 44.85 with two centuries in the latter half of the Sheffield Shield. Allrounder Liam Scott is highly regarded although struggled when promoted to No. 3 with an eye to the future. Spin-bowling allrounder Samuel Kerber made a promising debut late in the summer.
Australia radar
Captain Travis Head, who led the way with the bat during a prolific summer where he made 893 Sheffield runs and 276 in the Marsh Cup, would appear the frontrunner for the No. 5 spot in the Test team despite losing his place against India last season. He had already been recalled for the postponed tour of South Africa although he couldn't back up the form in a poor county season for Sussex. Kane Richardson will only be available for a short period at the start of the season before heading to the T20 World Cup. Alex Carey will be available early season after missing out on the World Cup squad but then may be needed as a back-up in the Ashes. Wes Agar made his ODI debut in West Indies but Australia don't have any games in that format until late January against New Zealand.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo