Mitchell Johnson whacked Aussie opener David Warner and chairman of selectors George Bailey - both ex-teammates of Johnson - in a scathing column. He…
Over this next series of articles I will be selecting teams for each state comprising the best performed domestic 50 overs players in the competition’s history.
There is an important distinction here. This is not a team of the best 50 over players to have come from New South Wales, it is the best performed New South Wales players in the annual domestic 50 overs competition. This will mean some great players could be missing, as they spent much of their time representing Australia instead of playing state cricket.
Having said that, unlike the Sheffield Shield, many of our international stars have also spent a good amount of time shining on our domestic 50 over competition as well. Here is a team of New South Wales’ greatest ever domestic 50 over players.
Daniel Hughes (2013-present)
1 title. 4 man of the match awards.
44 matches. 2,344 runs at 58.6. 10 centuries.
In a super hot field I have gone for a current player, Daniel Hughes. After only 44 matches Hughes already has scored twice the number of domestic one day centuries than any other NSW player, and has the ninth highest score for his state (152). Hughes’ average is the third highest ever for NSW, (behind just Michael Bevan and Steve Smith) which also happens to be the 3rd best in the competition’s history.
A sometimes useful measure to assess batters in this format is a combined average and strike rate, measured as average x strike rate / 100. On this measure Daniel Hughes has the 2nd highest all round score in competition history among the top 50 run scorers, only just behind Steven Smith. Daylight comes third (actually it’s SA’s Darren Lehman, but a full 15% behind Hughes).
Highlights include topping the competition runs in 2019/20 with 440. This was the third most ever for NSW in a season. In the 2020/21 final, Hughes scored a patient 58 against a WA attack including Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh to help guide his team to a winning total.
Hughes is continuing to perform in a NSW side desperate for success, with 304 runs at 51 in the 2023/24 season to date
There were many, many contenders for these two opening slots and I moved the otherwise standout opener Brad Haddin down the order, to include:
Phil Jacques (2001-2011)
1 title. 7 man of the match awards.
65 matches. 2,341 runs at 39.67. 5 centuries.
Jacques owns the third highest score for NSW (171 not out), plus two other scores over 150. He is the only player in the competition’s history to have passed 150 three times. Jacques’ 683 season runs in 2005/06 (with NSW winning the competition) is the highest of all time and he also topped the states runs in 2009/10. Despite a back injury troubling him during his career, Jacques ended up with the 4th most career runs for NSW and the equal second most man of the match performances, behind only Steve Waugh.
There were a number of other absolute standout openers for NSW, making this position easily the most difficult to choose. Other contenders included:
David Warner holds the record for the highest ever score for NSW – 197. He has the 6th highest average for the state. His 541 runs in the 2013/14 series was the 2nd all time for NSW and 7th all time for the competition and he also topped the NSW runs in 2008/09. Warner has 7 man of the match awards and a man of the series award as well. He is desperately unlucky, but has never won a title with NSW.
John Dyson. Don’t laugh. He has the 8th highest average for NSW, was part of their highest ever partnership of 253 with Rick McCosker and in the 1984/85 competition topped the runs for NSW, scored 84 not out in their semi-final and 79 in the grand final.
There was no room even for a write up for these great players: Simon Katich, Phil Hughes, Mark Waugh, Rick McCosker, Mark Taylor and Michael Slater. And then there is Richard Chee Quee who has the 10th highest average for NSW and topped their runs in the 1993/94 season, culminating in a match winning 131 in the final.
Steve Waugh (1984-2004)
3 titles. 12 man of the match awards
55 matches. 2,269 runs at 51.56. 5 centuries. 34 wickets at 25.08. 1 x 4 wickets.
Steve Waugh has the 4th highest batting average for NSW (6th in the entire competition) and the third most scores of 50 and over. Plus he could bowl a bit too.
On the combined average and strike rate measure discussed above, Waugh ranks 5th all time which is amazing given the relative scoring speeds from his era compared to modern times. Only one other player who commenced his career before 1989 even makes the top 10 (Victoria’s Dean Jones at 9th).
As a youngster he took 2 for 37 in the 1987/88 grand final and then 2 for 47 in 1991/92 semi final. In that latter season Waugh topped the competition for both runs (239) and wickets (7). The only other player to top both batting and bowling in a single season was Greg Chappell in 1975/76, when the tournament was a 2 or 3 game knockout.
Thereafter Waugh’s batting outstripped his bowling and he topped the competition for runs again in 1992/93.
Only four players have topped the series runs for two seasons running. They are Waugh, Queensland’s Matt Hayden (1998/99 and 1999/00), Victoria’s Brad Hodge (2009/10 and 2010/11) and, oddly South Australia’s Glenn Bishop in 1986/87 and 1987/88. Over his career Waugh topped NSW’s season runs four times and their wickets three times. On the batting side only Michael Bevan and Brad Haddin matched that record.
After a number of years missing most of the competition, Waugh got a cameo in the 2022/03 final and smashed 88 from just 55 balls as he captained NSW to victory. He then topped NSW’s runs scoring in 2003/04.
Waugh’s 12 man of the match awards is the most for NSWand he received an award in 22% of his matches. He is one of only two players to play at least 20 matches with a man of the match ratio better than 20%, the other being Victoria’s Julien Wiener who received 5 in 20 matches.
Steve Smith (2007-present)
1 title. 5 man of the match awards
1,948 runs at 59.03. 3 centuries. 19 wickets at 43.26. 46 matches.
Steve Smith doesn’t get to spend much time in the domestic competition, but he still has managed to put up a fair resume. He has the 2nd highest all time average for NSW, which is also second best in the entire competition’s history. He has the fifth most scores of 50 or more for the state.
As stated above, on the combined average and strike rate, measured as average x strike rate / 100, Steve Smith has the highest all round score in competition history among the top 50 run scorers.
Smith topped the competition in 2015/16 seasons with 435 runs – the fourth highest ever for NSW. He also managed to top the NSW runs in 2020/21 season, from just two matches. In the 2015/16 final, Smith cruised to 84 not out in a dominant victory.
Michael Bevan (1990-2003)
5 titles (plus one for Tasmania). 6 man of the match awards (plus 2 for Tasmania)
58 matches. 2,400 runs at 61.53. 1 century.
Here is probably NSW’s best ever domestic one day player and maybe even across all states. Michael Bevan holds the competition’s highest ever average. He has more scores over 50 than any other player from NSW. His resume in finals is unparalleled. On the combined average and strike rate measure he ranks 4th in history out of top 50 run scorers.
Over the years, Bevan:
– Scored 93 from 84 balls in 1991/92 semi final to get his team to the final.
– Scored 64 not out in NSW’s 1992/93 final victory.
– Scored 77 in the 1993/94 final as the state went back to back.
– Topped the NSW runs for the 2000/01 season, with his 423 being their fifth best of all-time. It culminated with 135 not out from 137 balls to win the final.
– Topped NSW’s season runs on a record equalling four occasions.
– Is one of only two players to be man of the match in 3 finals, alongside Allan Border (2 semi finals and 1 grand final)
Michael Bevan stands alone with six titles from ten grand final appearances across NSW, SA and Tasmania. He pulled his weight a bit in those finals too, scoring 515 runs at an average of 103, with one century and three half centuries. No other player has won more than 4 titles.
Bevan also topped the entire competition runs while playing for Tasmania in 2004/05. His 519 was their third highest ever series total.
Moises Henriques (2006-present)
3 titles. 2 man of the match awards.
99 matches. 3,068 runs at 39.33. 4 centuries. 60 wickets at 39.20.
In 2022/23 Moises Henriques broke Brad Haddin’s record for most 50 over matches for NSW and most runs scored for the state. Henriques has a high score of 164 not out, the fifth best for NSW. He also ranks 6th for scores over 50.
Back in 2005/06 against South Australia his nervous 5 from 21 balls in partnership with Stuart MacGill was enough to get NSW home by one wicket over a rampant Shaun Tait (who took 6 for 41). Henriques best year was 2016/17 when he made the most runs in the competition for NSW, culminating in 85 in the final to help them to the title.
Henriques is veteran now but has still hit NSW’s only Marsh Cup century this season and is averaging over 80 with a strike rate of 103.
Henriques also provides a valuable bowling option (although I guess most of this middle order does).
Other middle order options included Doug Walters, Nic Maddinson, Trevor Bayliss (4 titles) and Michael Clarke.
Doug Walters was a true all rounder in this format. He topped the state’s runs 3 times and their wickets 4 times. He topped NSW’s runs and wickets in the same year twice. He is the only player from any state to manage that feat more than once. I would be more than happy to replace Henriques with Walters – only three titles and longevity stopped me.
Brad Haddin (1999-2013)
4 titles. 5 man of the match awards (plus 2 for Canberra).
87 matches. 2,724 runs at 34.05. 5 centuries. 155 dismissals.
Brad Haddin has played the 2nd most domestic one-day matches for NSW (behind Moises Henriques) and he was pretty successful doing it. Haddin topped the runs for NSW in four different seasons: 2001/02, 2004/05, 2006/07 and 2007/08. He is just behind Henriques for most career runs in this format for NSW and has the second most centuries and scores of 50 or more.
He is also the standout wicket keeper for the state, with his 155 dismissals being well clear of his nearest rival. His overall 164 dismissals (including 9 from his days with the Canberra Comets) is the highest in the competition’s history.
Highlights for Haddin include being part of NSW’s 4th highest ever partnership, 228 with Mark Waugh in 2001/02. That same year Haddin top scored with 45 in a low scoring final as NSW took the title. He also contributed a quickfire 34 from just 18 balls in the 2002/03 final. Haddin captained NSW to the title in 2005/06.
Other contenders for Wicket Keeper were Peter Nevill (8th all time keeping dismissals) and Phil Emery.
I have left out an all round option in this side such as the excellent Shane Lee (6 man of the match awards and three titles), on the assumption that we have the all rounder version of Steve Waugh and a bit from Henriques, Smith and Bevan as well.
Other all rounders considered were: Dominic Thornely, Shawn Bradstreet (4 for 23 in the 2001/02 final win and 2 for 33 in the 2002/03 final win), Greg Matthews (4 titles) and Trevor Chappell.
I should also mention the great Imran Khan who played only two 50 over matches for the Blues. He scored 73 not out and took 1 for 28 in the 1984/85 semi final and backed it up with 36 and 1 for 20 in the grand final.
Brad MacNamara (1989-2000)
2 titles. 4 man of the match awards.
42 matches. 447 runs at 20.31. 57 wickets at 22.47. 1 x 5 wickets.
He wouldn’t be the first name that comes to mind, but Brad McNamara with his nagging medium pacers and spirited batting was a fixture for NSW for a decade.
McNamara topped NSW wickets for 1992/93 season and led the entire competition for 1993/94 seasons. He took 3 for 27 from 10 overs in the 1992/93 final plus scored 26 valuable runs to win the man of the match. He backed this up with 2 for 39 in 1993/94 final as NSW secured a third consecutive title. Over his career McNamara topped the NSW season wickets four times.
In 1996 McNamara took 6 for 25 against Tasmania. It remains the 2nd best bowling figures in NSW history and 7th overall.
Mitchell Starc (2009 – present)
2 titles. 3 man of the match awards. 1 man of the series award.
22 matches. 63 wickets at 15.42. 3 x 5 wickets. Also 129 runs at 21.5.
Mitchell Starc has only played 22 matches, but his claims cannot be denied with an average and strike rate that are both the best in the competition’s history, even accounting for earlier more bowling friendly conditions. His three five wicket hauls in just 22 matches is better for NSW only by Stuart MacGill (from 62 matches).
Starc topped the competition wickets in 2015/16 with 26 in just 6 matches, an all time competition record. He also topped NSW’s wickets in 2011/12 with 15 from 5 matches.
Starc has two competition wins to his credit, taking 3 for 39 in 2015/16 and. 2 for 32 in 2020/21.
Sean Abbott (2010 – present)
2 titles. 3 man of the match awards.
55 matches. 86 wickets at 25.4. 2 x 5 wickets.
Sean Abbott is an attractive package for 50 over cricket with his clever bowling and decent lower order hitting. He topped the competition wickets in 2013/14 with 16 from 7 matches, putting him eighth on the all-time list for NSW, including taking 3 for 52 in their semi final victory over Victoria. During that season Abbott had picked up two man of the match awards for his all round performances, scoring 47 not out and taking 2 for 43 to defeat WA and then scoring 50 and taking 3 for 32 to beat SA.
The following year Abbott again took 3 wickets (for 44 runs) in their semi final victory over QLD, although they went on to lose the final for second consecutive year. In 2018/19 he took 5 for 70 against Victoria and 5 for 43 against Tasmania in consecutive matches.
Abbott also topped the NSW’s wickets in 2017/18 and 2018/19 (making it four times during his career to date), and the competition wickets in 2020/21, culminating in 4 for 23 in their final victory that year over WA. He currently has the 8th best strike rate in competition history.
Stuart MacGill (1997-2006)
3 titles. 2 man of the match awards.
62 matches. 124 wickets at 22.36. 4 x 5 wickets.
Stuart MacGill holds the record for most career wickets for NSW and most five wicket hauls. Only James Hopes has more career wickets and only Victoria’s Shane Harwood and SA’s Kane Richardson have as many five wicket hauls. MacGill also has the 4th best strike rate in competition history and the best bowling average of any spin bowler.
He topped the entire competition wickets tally in 2000/01 with 18 wickets from 11 matches (the 5th best all-time for NSW). MacGill repeated the effort the following season (2001/02) with 21 from 8 matches, 2nd all-time for NSW and 4th all-time for the entire competition. He topped the NSW wickets again in 2003/04 (20 wickets in 7 matches, 4th all-time for NSW) 2004/05 and in 2005/06 with 15 from 7 matches, making it five times from six seasons and a record six times over his career.
MacGill is one of only two bowlers (the other being Dennis Lillee) to top his state’s season wickets on three occasions.
Although overshadowed by Shaun Tait’s insane 6 for 41, MacGill’s contribution to NSW’s title in 2005/06 was vital. He took 2 wickets for just 21 runs in his 8.5 overs and then came in at number 11 to help scramble the final 6 runs to win by a single wicket.
NSW have had many bowlers who could have commanded a place in this team including Nathan Lyon (3 finals wins in 4 attempts), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark (5th on the competition’s all time wickets tally), Doug Bollinger, David Colley from the 1970’s and Josh Hazlewood. Geoff Lawson had the 5th best economy rate in competition history.
Glenn McGrath didn’t play enough matches to make an impression and Gurinder Sandhu is another that somehow keeps taking wickets across many states and now has the 6th most in competition history.