Pakistan boast a fragile opening pair, a talent-laden middle order and an unpredictable attack as they head into the first Test against Australia at the Gabba tomorrow.
Melbourne Cricket Club’s Sebastian Gotch has won the most valuable player and club champion awards at the club’s presentation night last Friday.
The awards follow a stellar season with the bat for Gotch, hitting 588 runs at an average of 65.3 in Victorian Premier Cricket firsts.
After only being included in the side following Melbourne’s Round 6 loss to Carlton, Gotch commenced a remarkable run of form, scoring 96, 137, 76 and 78 in the next four two-day matches.
His feats earned him inclusion into the Victorian Bushrangers squad as a rookie for the 2014-15 season.
Victorian coach Greg Shipperd said Gotch had earned his selection in the squad after being a dominant player in Premier Cricket.
“He did it the tough way and came back through the twos, but once he got to Premier Cricket firsts he was a real stand out player for Melbourne,” said Shipperd.
On Friday night, Gotch paid tribute to the club which had put enormous faith in him following his return to playing cricket at the start of last season.
“Outside events forced me to reassess where my cricket was at so I didn’t play during the 2012/13 season,” said Gotch.
“Coming back I felt as though I owed it to a lot of people to work as hard as I could and contribute to the success of the team.”
Melbourne coach Andrew Kent praised Gotch’s dedication and commitment to the club during his breakout season.
“At the start of the year I offered Gotchy the chance to go elsewhere, perhaps interstate to play his cricket,” Kent said.
“He said, ‘No Melbourne’s my club, this is where I want to play my cricket, I want to prove myself here.’”
On his return to the club, Gotch said he was focused on playing and hadn’t considered state selection as a possibility.
“I came back because I believed I was good enough to play at a higher level, but I didn’t think this opportunity would come so quickly,” said Gotch.
Gotch is now looking forward to the challenge of understanding his own game better, in the hope of pushing for a first class debut next season.
“Players at that level look in so much control, I want to look like that,” said Gotch.
“I’m still young and aware there are lots of good cricketers out there, so I’m more than happy to take the long road and tick all the boxes.”
Victoria will start preseason looking to amend last season’s poor performance in the Sheffield Shield, while Melbourne will be looking to improve on its sixth-placed finish.