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Marsh sizes up glovemen

Selector runs his expert eye over 'keepers

Quick Single: Pick 'keeper on glovework, not batting: Marsh

If there’s one facet of cricket that Australia’s new chairman of selectors boasts an encyclopaedic knowledge of, it’s wicketkeeping – the art in which he excelled throughout a decorated career in the 1970s and 80s.

In his more recent role as a selector, Marsh was scouring the nation’s wicketkeeping stocks throughout the 2013-14 domestic summer. Not that he needs an official title to do that.

“I’m one that walks into a cricket ground and the first person I notice is the wicketkeeper,” Marsh told Cricket.com.au.

“It’s been excellent as a selector being able to get around to all the States and watch the men at work.

“I’m delighted to think that we’ve got one in each State who plays an integral role in that State’s success. It’s really good to see.”

Marsh insisted that each State boasted at least one wicketkeeper capable of performing at the international level.

“I’m very happy with where things are at, keeping-wise,” he said. “Every State has got a keeper who has shown enough at that level to probably warrant selection at a higher level.”

Here, in no particular order, is Marsh's run-down of each State’s best gloveman. 

Sam Whiteman (WA)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

11

6

10

Catches

44

2

4

Stumpings

1

1

4

Runs

687

61

137

Average

45.80

12.20

17.12

High Score

88

17

53

“I’ve been impressed with Sam,” Marsh said. “He’s only a youngster, and the thing about wicketkeeping is that, if you’re smart, you get better and better and better until you retire basically, because it’s an art which you learn about on the job.

“You can do all the drills and all the practice that you like, but until you actually play under different conditions, and understand where to stand and how to play the percentages … that’s when you really get to learn about wicketkeeping.”

Whiteman, 22, had a breakout year with the gloves and the bat, claiming a mammoth 56 dismissals across the three formats and 687 runs in the Bupa Sheffield Shield to finish sixth on the leading run-scorers list.

“Sam is only a novice at this stage because he’s only kept a couple of seasons, but what he has done is get better in those couple of seasons, and his batting has been terrific,” Marsh added. “I think he made five or six 50s this year. (The hundreds) will come – he’s a good cricketer.”

Tim Ludeman (SA)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

10

6

8

Catches

27

3

5

Stumpings

2

1

0

Runs

359

105

84

Average

25.64

21.00

21.00

High Score

100*

38

22

“He had a fantastic year with the gloves,” Marsh said of the Redbacks keeper, who grabbed 38 dismissals across the three forms through 2013-14. 

“He’s just getting better and better with age. His batting is improving all the time and he’s getting important runs for both South Australia and the Strikers.”

Matthew Wade (Vic)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

9

7

7

Catches

26

9

7

Stumpings

0

1

1

Runs

461

316

128

Average

32.92

45.14

25.60

High Score

119

85

44

Wade endured a mixed season, receiving a strange suspension for tampering with the pitch while batting in the Bupa Sheffield Shield, and being forced to sit back as Brad Haddin starred in the Ashes.

“Well he’s already got two Test hundreds,” Marsh said. “He probably didn’t start the season as well as he would have liked with the gloves, but towards the end of the season they were going in a lot better.”

That was reflected in his selection as Haddin’s stand-in in both shorter formats for Australia. 

Tim Paine (Tas)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

9

6

10

Catches

23

10

6

Stumpings

1

1

3

Runs

473

202

235

Average

31.53

40.40

26.11

High Score

87

56

65

Another to have represented Australia in the three forms, Paine’s career has been cruelled by finger injuries – the bane of wicketkeepers – and he has had to endure others jumping him in the queue to become Haddin’s replacement.

“The same could be said of him (as Wade),” Marsh said. “He didn’t start as well as he would’ve liked, but towards the end of the year his keeping and his batting was just getting better and better.”

Peter Nevill (NSW)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

9

7

7

Catches

32

5

3

Stumpings

3

1

2

Runs

472

228

60

Average

39.33

32.57

10

High Score

100*

70

25

“He played in the Shield final, got runs – was averaging over 50 two weeks out from the Shield final,” said Marsh, whose assessment of the New South Welshman is much like Nevill himself – no-nonsense, and straight to the point.

Nevill took 46 dismissals in the three forms last summer, having moved to Melbourne Renegades for an opportunity in the KFC T20 Big Bash League, and the 28-year-old was his usual reliable self with the blade, scoring 472 runs for NSW in the Shield, including two 50s and a hundred.

Chris Hartley (Qld)


Season 2013-14

Sheffield Shield

Ryobi Cup

Big Bash

Matches

10

4

N/A

Catches

40

3

Stumpings

2

1

Runs

376

162

Average

34.18

40.50

High Score

89

78

“The evergreen Chris Hartley – he’s just been a very, very good performer for a long time,” said Marsh, who is a long-time admirer of the Queensland gloveman, who comes across as very much a ‘keeper’s keeper’: refined and tidy behind the stumps, and defiant with the bat, much in the mould of Queensland’s greatest wicketkeeper, Ian Healy.

Like Nevill, Hartley also snared 46 dismissals through the domestic summer, 42 of which came in the Shield, with the 31-year-old not taking part in BBL03.

 

About the Writer

 @AdamBurnett09
@AdamBurnett09

Adam Burnett is the deputy news editor of cricket.com.au and senior news editor of bigbash.com.au. He previously wrote for and edited at Inside Cricket magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK.

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