Tasmania could challenge if batting finds consistency home and away

They have a strong hand of pace bowlers but pitches in Hobart can be a challenge

Alex Malcolm
Sam Rainbird is part of a strong group of pace bowlers  •  Getty Images

Sam Rainbird is part of a strong group of pace bowlers  •  Getty Images

Captain Jordan Silk
Coach Jeff Vaughan
R=Rookie, CA=Australia contract
Tom Andrews, Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Iain Carlisle, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, Brad Hope, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Sam Rainbird, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk, Billy Stanlake, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim, Tim Ward, Beau Webster, Mac Wright, Nick Davis (R), Jarrod Freeman (R), Mitch Owen (R), Nivethan Radhakrishnan (R) In Nick Davis, Billy Stanlake | Out Tim Paine
Winter moves
Tim Paine not being offered a contract was one of the main talking points of the winter but after training with the Tasmania squad over the last two months as an uncontracted player has been included in the first Sheffield Shield squad. Billy Stanlake has made the move south from Queensland to try and revive his career after a string of back injuries. He is still recovering from his latest stress fracture and is not going to be available until after the BBL and will only play white ball cricket this summer.
Last season
Tasmania played some excellent cricket last summer beating eventual Shield winners Western Australia twice both home and away. But two tight losses late in the season to New South Wales in Sydney and Victoria in Melbourne cost them a spot in the final. On both occasions, their batting let them down in low-scoring affairs. Tasmania unearthed a new opening duo with Tim Ward and Caleb Jewell forming a good combination. The flow-on effect was that Jordan Silk's move to the middle order proved a masterstroke as he had an outstanding season averaging 57.11 with a century and three fifties, having been freed from the tough task of facing the new ball at Bellerive week in and week out. Tasmania's bowling wasn't quite as strong as in previous years with none of the quicks managing to take 20 wickets while the ever-reliable Jackson Bird only played three games and Riley Meredith only played two, with Peter Siddle (19 wickets) doing the heavy lifting while Sam Rainbird produced a record 13-wicket haul against Queensland.
Player to watch

Ben McDermott has started to establish himself as one of Australia's next-generation white-ball players having scored a breakthrough ODI century in Pakistan earlier this year. The next phase of his development is producing big scores in long-form cricket. He was left out of the Australia A tour to Sri Lanka purely because he was viewed by the selectors as further down the red-ball pecking order. He has been incredibly consistent at reaching 50 in first-class cricket, having passed 50 ten times in his last 28 innings, but he has only converted one of those scores into three figures. His coach Jeff Vaughan believes the big scores will come.
"He has been really consistent," Vaughan told ESPNcricinfo. "It is an area that he's working on, is to make big scores and that's in all forms of the game. He's been making hundreds in T20s domestically last year and has had some success across both 50-over and red-ball cricket. We're really excited by what the future holds for him. And we certainly see him being one that could represent Australia in all three formats."
Australia radar
Matthew Wade will be away for the early part of the season with Australia's T20 side but will be available once the World Cup is complete in mid-November. Nathan Ellis could be in an out depending on whether he is needed as an injury replacement for the World Cup. McDermott remains on Australia's ODI radar and could potentially get a run in a three-match ODI series against England in November if some of the Test stars are rested. Riley Meredith may also bolt into the frame for that series as well given it is likely that Australia's key fast bowlers will be given a spell.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo