Redbacks raid rivals as Doggett joins from Bulls

Brendan Doggett, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney and Jake Carder among South Australia's interstate recruits on 2021-22 contract list

Former Australia Test squad member Brendan Doggett headlines a brace of new Redbacks' recruits for next summer as South Australia looks to lift themselves from the foot of domestic cricket ranks.

The inclusion of Doggett in SA's contract list for 2021-22 provides coach Jason Gillespie with the strike fast-bowler he keenly sought, and crowns a radically revamped squad for the Redbacks who finished bottom of the Marsh Sheffield Shield and One-Day Cup competitions without a win in either format.

The 27-year-old was part of Australia's squad for the 2018 Test series against Pakistan in the UAE (minus Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood) when he was considered among the brightest and fastest young pace-bowling talents in first-class ranks.

His selection followed a five-wicket haul in Queensland's successful Shield final appearance in 2017-18, which prompted ex-Australia speedster Brett Lee to note that Doggett had "pace to burn".

However, Doggett's progress was stalled by a series of leg and back injuries that restricted him to a solitary Shield match in two summers before he returned to be part of Queensland's Shield-winning outfit in the season just completed with 22 wickets at 26.81 from six matches.

That included an inspired spell against SA in his comeback game in Adelaide last November which undoubtedly caught Gillespie's eye.

But the presence of fellow fast bowlers Michael Neser, Jack Wildermuth, Mark Steketee and Xavier Bartlett in the Bulls' line-up meant Doggett was often deployed as second-change seamer.

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Joining Doggett in Adelaide will be allrounders Nathan McAndrew (New South Wales) and Nathan McSweeney (Queensland), along with top-order batter Jake Carder (Western Australia) while young fast bowler Jordan Buckingham has been lured from Victoria's Emerging Performance squad with a rookie contract.

The Redbacks have also rewarded prolific Adelaide Premier Cricket run-scorers Sam Kerber and Ryan Gibson with their first full state contracts after the pair were drafted into the SA line-up at the end of last summer.

Highly rated young batters Bailey Capel and Kyle Brazell, who also shone at Premier Cricket level last summer, join Buckingham and the Kelly twins (Thomas and Corey) as rookie-contracted players for 2021-22.

SA's bowling attack – which claimed just 61 wickets at an average of 62.56 runs apiece from seven matches in their most recent Shield campaign – will be further boosted by the return of Test-capped seamer Joe Mennie who missed the entire 2020-21 season for personal reasons.

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The major makeover follows the retirements of veterans Callum Ferguson and Chadd Sayers, and the de-listing of Tom Cooper, Will Bosisto, Conor McInerney, Brad Davis, Luke Robins and allrounder Cameron Valente who was the domestic one-day competition's leading wicket-taker in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

It's also in line with recommendations made by former Australia Test great Michael Hussey who, in his review of SA's men's cricket operations last year, suggested Redbacks recruiters should target the "10th to 15th best players interstate" as well as uncontracted under-19 players from around Australia.

"We are delighted with the additions we've been able to make to freshen up our squad, and we're optimistic for an improved 2021-22 season," Gillespie said today.

"We have added considerable depth and increased our pace stocks, namely with Brendan (Doggett) who is a two-time Sheffield Shield champion, and we welcome each new player and look forward to the beginning of pre-season.

"We've shaped this new-look team with a focus on results, and we are confident that this rejuvenated list can take this proud state forward."

Image Id: F0EC25BB889244B49EBD948B5453491A Image Caption: Sydney Thunder quick Nathan McAndrew has crossed from NSW to SA // Getty

McAndrew, a pace-bowling allrounder best known for his five seasons with Sydney Thunder in the KFC BBL, earned his first NSW contract in 2020 but was unable to win a place in the Blues' strong Sheffield Shield line-up.

The 28-year-old is a hard-hitting lower-order batter in the Sean Abbott mould, and could provide flexibility to a Redbacks attack that was able to claim 10 opposition wickets in just one Shield innings – the final outing against Victoria – last summer.

A former Australia Under-19 World Cup squad member alongside Redbacks leg-spinner Lloyd Pope, McSweeney made his first-class debut for Queensland in 2018 at age 19 but managed just four more appearances for the Bulls across the subsequent three seasons.

His most recent Shield game came more than a year ago, and the 22-year-old right-hander complements his top-order batting prowess with useful off-spin which might help ease the burden shared by SA's sole spinner Pope and occasional tweaker, Travis Head.

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SA have known about Carder's batting talent since the left-handed opener plundered a century for the Cricket Australia XI against the Redbacks in the 2017-18 One Day Cup series, which led the competition whipping boy to its second-ever List A win.

Since then, the 25-year-old has played just seven Shield games (262 runs at 26.20) as Sam Whiteman established himself as Cameron Bancroft's opening partner in WA where the middle-order is crammed with allrounders the likes of Cameron Green, Mitchell Marsh and Hilton Cartwright.

Gibson, 27, re-located to Adelaide from NSW (where he played three Shield matches and seven one-day games for the Blues from 2016-18) in search of greater opportunities, and was rewarded with inclusion in the Redbacks' one-day team and was also added to Adelaide Strikers' BBL roster last summer.

Kerber, originally from Victoria, was similarly recognised for his Premier Cricket form and earned a call-up to his adopted state's Shield team at summer's end.

The 26-year-old scored 55 and 33 in his Shield debut against his home state and tied with Davis for the Bradman Medal as pre-eminent men's players in Premier Cricket where Kerber scored 757 runs at 94.63 and took 21 wickets with his left-arm orthodox spin for Adelaide University.

Rookie-contracted Buckingham has made 50 Premier Cricket appearances for Greenvale Kangaroos and Footscray, and was a member of Victoria Metro's initial under-19 development squad three years ago.

However, the surfeit of rival fast bowling talent in Melbourne has seen Buckingham's fellow seamers from that squad – Will Sutherland, Mitch Perry and Zak Evans – all graduate to first-class ranks over the past year.

The right-armer also witnessed another member of Victoria's Emerging Performance squad from last year, Peter Hatzoglou, move to Adelaide in search of opportunities that led to him breaking into SA's Marsh One Day Cup outfit late last summer.

The Redbacks women's contract list for 2021-22 is expected to be released next week.

2021-22 South Australia Men's contract list

In: Brendan Doggett, Nathan McSweeney, Nathan McAndrew, Jake Carder, Sam Kerber, Ryan Gibson, Jordan Buckingham (rookie), Bailey Capel (rookie), Kyle Brazell (rookie).

Out: Callum Ferguson, Chadd Sayers, Tom Cooper, Brad Davis, Conor McInerney, Luke Robins, Cameron Valente.

Squad: Wes Agar, Jordan Buckingham (rookie), Alex Carey (CA contract), Bailey Capel (rookie), Kyle Brazell (rookie), Jake Carder, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Ryan Gibson, David Grant, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Corey Kelly (rookie), Thomas Kelly (rookie), Samuel Kerber, Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Joe Mennie, Harry Nielsen, Tim Oakley, Lloyd Pope, Kane Richardson (CA contract), Liam Scott, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Daniel Worrall.