Quick Single: Our 2015-16 Shield Team of the Season
1) Ed Cowan (NSW Blues)
The former Test opener fell just 41 runs short of 1000 runs for the season, finishing on top of the run-scorers list by a huge margin of 98 runs. His form after the mid-season break was sensational; having not played in the KFC Big Bash League, the left-hander peeled off scores of 212, 0, 115, 51*, 125, 48*, 69 and 80 as the Blues fell agonisingly short of a spot in the final.
2) Joe Burns (Queensland)
It was an up-and-down season for Burns, who was a solid performer for the Bulls despite a torrid start to the summer that included regaining and then losing his spot in Australia's Test side. Having opened the season with a century against a star-studded NSW attack, Burns returned six consecutive single-figure scores in first-class cricket – two of which came in the Hobart Test – but turned things around after the BBL break. A match-saving double of 108 and 88no against the Blues in Sydney was the highlight and with not many other openers firing this season, he gets the nod in our XI.
3) Hilton Cartwright (Western Australia)
In a summer when he made his international debut, Cartwright's response to his Test dumping was impressive and almost earned the Warriors a spot in the Shield final. The allrounder was elevated to No.3 in the batting order and scored two centuries and two fifties in the second half of the season, pushing his career first-class average to a highly impressive 52.07.
4) George Bailey (Tasmania)
The only player from last summer's Team of the Season to win selection again, Bailey was a rare shining light in a difficult summer for Tasmania. Having lost his place in Australia's one-day side, Bailey was the Shield's third-highest run-scorer this season, with allrounder Simon Milenko (20th) the only other Tigers player to finish in the top 20. From 17 innings this season, Bailey was Tasmania's highest or second-highest scorer 10 times, underlining his importance to the side.
5) Moises Henriques (NSW Blues, c)
It was a season of two halves in more ways than one for the Blues skipper; having been unable to pass 50 in his first six innings of the campaign, Henriques peeled off scores of 115, 51, 265, 47, 54, 50 and 66 to finish with an average of 64. Injury and selection meant he bowled just 60 overs for the season, which national selectors said was a factor in his non-selection for the tour of India, but he could well put his name forward for higher honours again if he's able to put his injury frustrations behind him next summer.
6) Ashton Turner (Western Australia)
A breakout season for the WA allrounder, who made his international debut in the T20 series against Sri Lanka last month. Having never made a first-class century before this summer, Turner's first two Shield tons were right out of the top drawer; a score of 110 out of a total of 262 against Tasmania having come to the crease with the score 4-40 and then, just two games later, an even 100 out of 265 against Queensland when the score had been 7-125. He then finished the season with a match-winning performance of 6-111, the first five-wicket haul of his career, as the Warriors won a thriller against NSW.
7) Peter Nevill (NSW Blues, wk)
SA's Alex Carey and Queensland skipper Chris Hartley are unlucky to miss the cut after strong seasons, but Nevill's impressive response to his Test axing in November has earned him the nod. An unbeaten 179 against Tasmania just a week after the axe fell kick-started an impressive campaign for the Blues that underlined Nevill's status as one of the best keeper-batsmen in the country. The right-hander finished the summer with three centuries and bravely took NSW to the verge of a thrilling victory in the final match of the season, but fell just six runs short. Carey, who needs just eight runs in the final to completed the double of 500 runs and 50 wickets for the season, has been sensational for the Redbacks while Hartley finished his last season at the Bulls with a batting average of 76.
8) Chris Tremain (Victoria)
Having made his international debut in September, Tremain produced another strong season for Victoria to help guide them into the final. The right-armer picked up at least one wicket in all 17 innings in which he bowled, including three four-wicket hauls, and was relentless in his partnership with James Pattinson in the second half of the season. And he can bat as well! The right-hander produced a memorable century against Western Australia in Alice Springs, scoring 111 of his 191 runs for the season in one innings.
9) Chadd Sayers (South Australia)
Another sensational Shield season for the right-armer, who came within a whisker of a Test debut on more than one occasion during the summer. Sayers finished the regular season 12 wickets ahead of the next best bowler in the competition and his four five-wicket hauls took his career tally to 12 from 54 matches. The Redbacks seamer was on track for an all-time record campaign before a lean finish (at least by his standards) to the regular season, but his haul of 54 wickets – with the prospect of more to come in the final – is the most in one season for a decade.
10) Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia)
In a season that was shortened by injury, Behrendorff still managed to put together a record-breaking campaign for the Warriors and jumped ahead of teammate Simon Mackin to win the third fast-bowling spot in our side. His 9-37 against Victoria in Perth underlined why he's long been tipped for higher honours, while his four-wicket haul on a big turner against NSW in Sydney underlined his ability to adapt to unfavourable conditions. The Warriors, and Australia, will be hoping the left-armer can have an extended run of good fitness next summer.
11) Jon Holland (Victoria)
Having lost his spot in the Test side after debuting in Sri Lanka, Holland was a surprising omission from the Test tour of India after a strong campaign for the Bushrangers. Having displaced Fawad Ahmed as Victoria's No.1 spinner, Holland picked up match hauls of seven or more in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide before injury sidelined him during the mid-season break. His returns haven't been as strong in the second half of the season, but he should be a crucial figure on a turning wicket in Alice Springs for the final.
12th man: Jack Wildermuth (Queensland)
A young allrounder from Queensland, Wildermuth pushed his name into the conversation for higher honours with another consistent season for the Bulls and was unlucky to miss out on a spot in our best XI. A match haul of 90 and five wickets against South Australia in February and then a century and three wickets against Tasmania in the following match had him in contention to replace injured allrounder Mitchell Marsh in India and there's no doubt the 23-year-old is on the radar of national selectors.