Stability in key positions is the key in most sports. Luckily for Queensland, the Bulls can always rely on Chris Hartley to deliver, with the wicketkeeper-batsman remaining one of the most consistent players over the past decade.
Hartley had a fairly quiet 2012/13, but managed 74 against Victoria in a must win match heading into the Ryobi Cup final.
With the Bulls and Brisbane Heat contesting all three finals, Hartley’s leadership in an otherwise developing squad was vital, with he and James Hope sharing the captaincy throughout the season.
Hartley started his career in dramatic style by hitting 103 on debut against the Redbacks nearly 10 years ago.
The next few seasons saw him regularly reach the 400 run mark in the Shield, and around 50 catches in the four day format.
2009 saw him enjoy a purple patch of around 24 months, with Hartley scoring 524 and dismissed 54 batsmen.
Hartley, who has scored seven career centuries, managed the feat in back to back games that season on his way to the state’s Player of the Year Award.
The Queenslander remarkably improved on those statistics the following season, with Hartley adding an unprecedented 827 runs and 44 dismissals.
Barring injury, he is set to bring up 100 first-class matches next season, and will be keen to bump his average up towards the 35 mark.
Despite being a naturally clean hitter of the ball, Hartley has yet to steal the show in the shorter forms of the game.
He averages a bit under 30 in the Ryobi Cup, which isn’t horrible given he is an opening batsman.
It would be great to see him bat up the order for the Brisbane Heat, instead of in the lower middle-order.