Reviewing the CA team of the Shield season

Ryan H Roar Guru

By Ryan H, Ryan H is a Roar Guru

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    On Sunday, Cricket Australia revealed their team of the tournament for the Sheffield Shield season, which reaches its climax with the final, between Queensland and Tasmania, commencing on Friday.

    Virtually half this side picked itself, given eight players from this XI will take part in the final. It’s really no coincidence that these teams – particularly Queensland – have been so dominant in the long form in the last few months.

    The XI announced reads as follows:

    Joe Burns (Queensland), Matthew Renshaw (Queensland), Glenn Maxwell (Victoria), Marnus Labuschagne (Queensland), Callum Ferguson (South Australia), Jake Doran (Tasmania), Matthew Wade (Tasmania), Michael Neser (Queensland), Tom Rogers (Tasmania), Chris Tremain (Victoria), Jackson Bird (Tasmania).

    Joe Burns
    Hard to go past the right-hander, despite missing a chunk of cricket after Christmas, before returning with a classy 97 last week.

    A deserved selection given this season has seen him clock up 635 runs from just six appearances, at an average just below 60. Burns’ injury could not have come at a worse time, given auditions were largely open to replace under-fire batsman Cameron Bancroft in the Test side.

    Matthew Renshaw
    Not as straightforward a selection as his opening partner, yet Renshaw’s mass run-scoring in the new year secured his place. He was averaging below 20 after the opening four rounds, but sits eighth on the run-scoring list for this season, with three centuries igniting his run of excellent form.

    Both Jake Weatherald and Marcus Harris, having scored 765 and 706 runs respectively, may well feel a little aggrieved at this choice, however.

    Matt Renshaw celebrates century SCG

    Matt Renshaw (AAP Image/David Moir)

    Glenn Maxwell
    In this game, numbers mean just about everything, and Maxwell proved his long-form prowess this season, delivering a stern message to national selectors after his Ashes snubbing.

    Compiling 707 at a whirlwind strike rate of 70, his season will be remembered for that monstrous innings of 278 early on.

    You might say this was an automatic selection.

    Marnus Labuschagne
    A big improver this season and a wonderful middle-order rock for the Bulls, the South-African born batsman finished third on the run-scoring leaderboard – a seriously impressive feat.

    Difficult to question this pick; the only one who might’ve staked as much of a claim being Travis Head, with similar numbers to boast. Labuschagne’s consistency likely won him the nod.

    Callum Ferguson
    Who knows if his brief life as a Test cricketer will ever recommence, but the veteran is going the right way about it. Ferguson rather inconspicuously tops the tournament run-scoring and may only be surpassed following the final. His 780 runs – including a damaging 182 and five half-centuries – illustrate that class is permanent.

    The gap between his best and worst performances were obvious, with several fails and single-figure scores, but including the leading run-scorer in this team is really a no-brainer.

    Jake Doran
    Some might’ve labelled him as a talented youngster who has underachieved prior to this season, but they won’t anymore. Arguably the most noticeable improver of the season, Doran greatly improved on two lean years prior, accumulating 722 runs at 45.

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his batting is his patience and ability to bat for long periods. He faced more deliveries this season than anybody else, and by some stretch too – nearly 300 more than the next. His watchful approach might be exactly what Test selectors are looking for sometime down the track.

    Matthew Wade
    He might be a long way from ever recovering his Test place, but Wade’s selection was all but certain here, following a solid competition where his 546 runs was far superior to that of any other keeper.

    Most would agree his work behind the stumps was largely unobtrusive too – and that can only be a good thing.

    Matthew Wade keeping

    Australia’s wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

    Michael Neser
    Neser has become a household name among domestic cricket circles following some brilliant performances for the Strikers in the BBL and Queensland in the longer form. Displaying wonderfully skilled swing bowling, he has taken 37 wickets from nine matches, with a fantastic average of 19.7, in what has been his standout Shield season to date.

    A valuable lower-order hand too, his season with the bat included his fifth first-class fifty. Not going to argue with this selection at all.

    Tom Rogers
    The 24-year-old fast bowler had an outstanding season, grabbing 35 wickets. Rogers had not played a first-class match until last October, and he has given Tasmanian cricket much to like about their fast bowling.

    Rogers became part of a brilliant pace attack this season, and his average of 17.31 is the best of the frontline bowlers to have played more than five matches. His devastating performance of 4-9 against an inexperienced WA side was a sign of things to come.

    Perhaps the only other name in contention for his place would be Scott Boland, who finished second on the overall wicket tally, however the rapid rise of Rogers caught the eye of most viewers.

    Chris Tremain
    The Victorian quick has strung together several outstanding seasons now. This time, Tremain finished with a staggering 51 wickets, 13 ahead of Boland.

    Similar to Ferguson, when a player tops the charts so comfortably, it would almost be criminal to leave them out. Tremain is ready for Test cricket should the opportunity present anytime soon.

    Jackson Bird
    Bird was the premier quick in the competition before his Test duties, but he still managed to take 35 wickets, despite playing just seven matches.

    Teammate Sam Rainbird would have been a fair choice in this XI, having also taken 35 wickets, however those came in ten matches. Like Tremain, Bird has been a model of consistency in the Sheffield Shield for several seasons – this one was no different.

    In a season dominated by fast bowling, interestingly no spinner was included in this XI. While it would have been extremely difficult to include one given the spread of quality pacemen, the most likely candidates would have been Mitch Swepson (32 wickets from ten matches) and Fawad Ahmed (27 wickets from seven matches).

    It is worth noting too that newly included left-arm quick Nick Winter collected 34 wickets for South Australia from just five matches – an extraordinary achievement. This contained more five-wicket hauls than any other, and gave fans a taste of what he might produce in a full Shield season in the future.

    Did Cricket Australia get the makeup of this team right? Were there any other unlucky names? Interested to hear your thoughts Roarers!

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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • March 21st 2018 @ 7:38am
      BurgyGreen said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      I’d definitely swap Renshaw for Harris, and probably Labuschagne for Head. Other than that I think it’s the right team, though maybe it lacks a genuine 5th bowler.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 21st 2018 @ 8:07am
        Matthew Pearce said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Agree on Harris for Renshaw, disagree on Head.

        The CA one is just a “team of the best XI”. Ronan did a more proper “actual team” yesterday for reference there, he had Wildermuth in place of Ferguson and Swepson instead of Bird.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 11:07am
          BurgyGreen said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Not sure that’s necessarily the case with the CA one, they might’ve just felt that Maxwell was enough of a 5th bowler considering the dominance of the ball this season.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 21st 2018 @ 12:01pm
            Matthew Pearce said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

            That’s a fair assessment, but ultimately Maxwell was always going to be picked, rather disappointing second half aside.

            That said, if the CA version wanted a proper team they’d have included Swepson, who took 32 wickets @ 34, which isn pretty impressive for a leggie in Australia.

      • March 21st 2018 @ 9:43am
        JohnB said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

        Harris made 20 more runs than Renshaw across the season despite playing 4 games on the road at the MCG. Hardly a slam dunk.

        • Roar Rookie

          March 21st 2018 @ 10:37am
          Matthew Pearce said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

          Renshaw and Weatherald both suffered from the problem of generally scoring “all or nothing”.

          Cheeks has three centuries, three scores between 30-60… and the remaining 13 innings all produced less than 20. Hardly the model of consistency. 4 of those 13 even came in his good second half.

          Besides, Renshaw’s biggest season haul came at Melbourne. Does that invalidate it? The problem with the “road” argument is that it ignores that you still have to make the runs, and that even on roads batsman can and do fall cheaply.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 1:32pm
            JohnB said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

            Circumstances and conditions when runs were made should come into it. Renshaw’s 50 and 30 against Tas in Brisbane were much better innings than his 170 in Melbourne. I don’t think you can just ignore the fact that batsmen had advantages in Melbourne this year, generally have in Adelaide and at times in recent years also have in Perth or Sydney (or country grounds in Qld). Equally the performance of SA bowlers in past years, or Tremain this year, should get some premium in their assessment for them having to play home games on flat wickets.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:29pm
              Matthew Pearce said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              I definitely wouldn’t argue against any of that at all. I just feel that it tends to be overlooked that even on roads, you do still actually have to score the runs.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:37pm
              Ryan H said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

              I don’t disagree that the 56 and 32 may have been more gritty knocks that required more application and patience; but it’s not as though every batsman found the MCG pitch and conditions easy to handle either. In the same innings as Renshaw’s 170, Pfeffer, Labuschange and Hemphrey all failed to pass 30.

              In Victoria’s first innings, both openers – Dean and Harris – were dismissed for single figures, and Renshaw even nicked off without scoring in the QLD second innings.

              There’s no doubt it was probably much flatter than any other Shield pitch in Australia, but I also don’t think it was easy going either.

            • March 22nd 2018 @ 1:05am
              Don Freo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:05am | ! Report

              If you pick Renshaw on the basis of half a good season and half a dud one, then you pick Winter on half a great season and nothing dud.

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am
                Ryan H said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

                Not wrong Don – six matches was enough for Burns to be picked, so you could make a strong case for Winter. To think he took 34 wickets from five matches is unbelievable, and makes you wonder what he might be able to produce next year for instance, if given a full season.

                Still only 24 too, and showed an ability to swing the ball late back into right-handers; some of his wickets came from devastatingly good deliveries.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 10:31am
                Don Freo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

                May not be room for Winter and Sayers in the one side. I wonder if the Vics will wave the cheque book at one of them. That’s how they operate…buy players, don’t develop them.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 9:54am
                JohnB said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

                Don’t disagree – for Neser or Rogers?

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 10:33am
                Don Freo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                Rogers is headed for the next level…at least in the short form.

                His batting may yet be his greater strength. He was under-utilized in both disciplines this season. Faulkner might have to move states.

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