After toiling away in Sydney’s Grade competition for several years, Jackson Bird made the big move to head south to Tasmania for the 2011 season. The move couldn’t have worked out any better, with Bird picking up 101 wickets in just 20 appearances for his new state.
His debut season for the green machine was the stuff of legend. The accurate seamer flourished in pace friendly conditions at Bellerive. His 53 wickets for the season helped Tasmania reach the final, and earned him Player of the Year honours.
Aside from being named the tournament’s best player, Bird celebrated another milestone when he tore through Western Australia. After taking 5/32 in the first innings, Bird was thrown the ball with the match in the balance. He knocked over Nathan Rimmington, before trapping dual international Luke Ronchi in front for 71. With history beckoning, he speared in a gem of a delivery to have Jason Behrendorff LBW. The hat-trick capped off an 11 wicket effort for the match, and sealed Tasmania’s spot in the final.
While Bird isn’t the quickest bowler in the tournament, he is one of the most consistent. His nagging line and length, coupled with a touch of movement makes him a difficult proposition for top-order players to handle.
Bird has excelled on green decks at Bellerive, where his top of off line has yielded a stack of wickets. It’s not surprising to hear many people compare Bird to former mentor Glenn McGrath. For Australia’s sake, let’s hope they are right.
The Tasmanian talisman has already represented Australia, and is on the verge of his first Ashes campaign.
The 26 year old couldn’t have asked for a better debut, with selectors choosing him for the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka. Bird picked up two wickets in the first innings, before helping reduce the visitors to 4/13 in their second innings. The innings and 201 run victory was a dream come true for Bird, who capped off the win by bowling Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene for a duck.
In the New Year’s Test at the SCG, Bird picked up the first two and last two wickets to help roll Sri Lanka for 294. He picked up another three wickets in the second innings, including his bunny, Dimuth Karunaratne, who he dismissed three times form four attempts.
Bird has developed into one of the most reliable fast bowlers in the country, and is an almost certain starter for the Ashes.