Tim Paine has picked up six catches in his return to cricket as questions abound about whether the former Test skipper is still the…
Alex Doolan, who played four Tests in 2014, has started the Sheffield Shield season in impressive form.
If Sheffield Shield runs is the currency that matters most at the selection table, Alex Doolan is on track for a certain Test recall.
Doolan is the leading Shield run-scorer after three rounds, having helped himself to 350 runs at 58.33.
Selectors will obviously use a more complex formula when assessing which batsmen deserve to be called up for Australia’s four-Test series opener against India that starts on December 6.
It is also worth noting that plenty of batsmen on the cusp of the Test XI, such as Matthew Renshaw, haven’t featured in as many Shield games as Doolan.
But there is no denying the Tasmanian, who played all four of his Tests in 2014 at first drop but has since reinvented himself as an opener, is in cracking form.
Doolan started his Shield season with a knock of 115 during a game in Brisbane, where only one other batsman from either team passed 50.
The 32-year-old produced a half-century at the WACA then scores of 53 and 90 in this week’s draw at the SCG.
The right-hander batted with great poise to march Tasmania to 1-145 in their final-day pursuit of 350 in Sydney, ticking the scoreboard over while resisting an attack headlined by Test offspinner Nathan Lyon.
“Alex is in some great form,” Tasmania captain George Bailey said.
“He’s found his feet at the top of the order for us. He’s looking really composed. He’s a classic, very elegant player.
“No doubt if he had an opportunity he’d go well. Whether they’re talking about him or not, you wouldn’t have any idea.”
Bailey highlighted Doolan’s adaptability. He was just as comfortable on a slow SCG pitch as he was on a green-tinged Gabba deck.
“We’ve played on three very different wickets. He’s looked good on all three,” Bailey said.
“His hundred at the Gabba, on a wicket that nobody else found easy at all, was particularly impressive.”
Beau Webster (80 not out) was another Tasmanian who excelled on Thursday, digging in after a collapse of 5-51 as Nathan Lyon threatened to spin NSW to victory.
“I was very impressed with Beau. It was a very good knock,” Lyon said.
“You have to give credit where it’s due. He batted for over 200 balls.”
Leading Sheffield Shield run scorers after three rounds
*Alex Doolan (350 at 58.33)
*Marcus Harris (348 at 116)
*Tom Cooper (342 at 68.4)
*Jake Lehmann (298 at 74.5).