Sheffield Shield team of the year

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Apr
1

The Sheffield Shield title went to Victoria after an impressive performance against New South Wales in the final and brought the curtain down on the Australian season. Who made our Sheffield Shield team of the year?

Marcus Harris (1188 runs at 69.88)

The left-hander became the first man since 2014-15 to register 1000 runs in a Shield season. The feat was even more impressive given the last five matches he played were against the Dukes ball. He scored three centuries and six half-centuries and was incredibly consistent across the season. His third Sheffield Shield final hundred was instrumental in Victoria claiming the title and he finished as the Shield’s leading scorer.

Alex Doolan (761 runs at 38.05)

The experienced right-hander from Tasmania started the season superbly with a century in seaming conditions at the Gabba. He averaged one run less than New South Wales’ Daniel Hughes and made one less century but he passed 50 seven times in 20 innings and played half those innings on the toughest new-ball batting wicket in the country and deserves recognition because of that consistency.

Will Pucovski (649 runs at 54.08)

He missed four games before Christmas due to mental health issues but still managed to score 649 runs. He made two centuries and three other scores above 50 in just 13 innings. The highlight was his extraordinary 243 against Western Australia in the first game of the season whilst struggling with his mental health. He was very impressive after the BBL scoring a century against Tasmania, 82 against South Australia and making 51 in the second innings of the final, in a game where only three players passed 50.

Kurtis Patterson (724 runs at 40.22)

After going two full years without a Sheffield Shield century Patterson made two this season and added a Test debut and a Test century to his resume. He only averaged 40.22 but he passed 50 six times and was very consistent batting at No. 3 for New South Wales. He got his runs in difficult circumstances, notably an unbeaten century on a Perth Stadium pitch where Jhye Richardson took eight wickets and only three players in the game passed 50. He played very well in the second innings of the Shield final contributing 76 on a surface where most of the batsmen in the game struggled.

Matthew Wade (1021 runs at 60.05; capt wk)

No player could do any more than what has been asked of Matthew Wade. Like Harris, he passed the mythical 1000-run mark having done the majority of his batting on a difficult Bellerive pitch. He passed 50 in half of his 20 innings this year. He started the season No. 6 and then moved up to No. 4 after the Australian selectors suggested he was batting too low to be considered for Test cricket and pounded out more runs. Sheffield Shield winners Victoria rated Wade the toughest batsman to bowl to in the competition after he made 137 and 86 against them. He also captained Tasmania for more than half the season and kept wicket in four of the 10 games.

Nic Maddinson (563 runs at 80.42)

He was not contracted at the start of the season for his new state Victoria after moving from New South Wales and was not selected for the first five Shield games but made the team of the year based off just eight innings, where he scored a staggering 563 runs at 80.42. He made three centuries in his first three games including 162 opening the batting against Western Australia on debut for his new state. He had a shocking run with injury though, breaking his arm in that innings and also breaking his thumb fielding in the last game of the home and away season which saw him miss the final.

Michael Neser (481 runs at 43.72; 33 wickets at 23.03)

Neser had a stunning all-round year in his first season moving up to No.7. He topped the Queensland batting averages making 481 runs at 43.72, including five half-centuries. Only Joe Burns managed more half-centuries for the Bulls. He also finished second on the Bulls wickets tally with 33 scalps at 23.03 including taking just his second career five-wicket haul against Western Australia in the last round of the season.

Trent Copeland (52 wickets at 18.21)

Copeland was a stand-out bowler taking 52 wickets at just 18.21 with three five-wickets hauls. It was a season made even more remarkable by the fact he missed two games, having been left out for one fixture when Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were available and missing another due to television commentary commitments. He was effective on all types of surfaces but was particularly damaging with the Dukes ball taking 29 wickets after Christmas including 5 for 74 in the first innings of the final.

Jackson Bird (50 wickets at 22.22)

The Tasmanian seamer was dominant at Bellerive Oval taking 50 wickets for the season. He was the only man in the competition to take four five-wicket hauls and two 10-wicket hauls. He was incredibly durable as well as one of only two fast bowlers to play all 10 home and away games without a rest and he bowled more overs than any other quick bar Copeland. As dominant as he was at home, though, his best performance came away at Adelaide Oval where he took 11 for 112 on a surface where two batsmen passed 150 and Tasmania piled up 467 in their first innings.

Scott Boland (48 wickets at 19.66)

He was named Sheffield Shield player of the year having been rested in the final round of the season. He took 6 for 49 and 7 for 54 in back-to-back fixtures on a flat MCG surface prior to Christmas and was a key cog in Victoria’s title-winning attack. He was relentless in testing the defensives of batsmen on predominantly flat pitches in Melbourne. He finished with 48 wickets at 19.66 and fittingly took the winning wicket to seal the Shield final.

Jon Holland (26 wickets at 28.16)

Holland was the stand-out spinner in the competition, but the fact that he finished tied 14th on the Sheffield Shield wicket-taking tally suggests it was a year where surfaces were far more pace and seam friendly. He only played eight of Victoria’s 11 games missing three prior to Christmas as Fawad Ahmed’s leg-spin was preferred, but he was an important contributor after the BBL. He took a vital 5 for 72 against Queensland to give Victoria the opportunity to chase 300 on the final day and also bagged 5 for 31 against New South Wales to set up a win that secured Victoria a home final.

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