Role clarity helps Doran keep consistency in focus

Some big names return to the Sheffield Shield on Thursday with all six states in action across the country as Tasmania's in-form 'keeper-batter looks to add to his impressive start to the season

There's perhaps none more aware of the ebbs and flows of professional sport than Tasmania's in-form wicketkeeper Jake Doran.

After making the leap to Tasmania as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, the NSW-born left-hander's eight seasons of first-class cricket have been punctuated by dominant summers followed by lean ones that has meant he's never quite nailed down his spot in the Tigers line up.

Amid all the fanfare about Tim Paine's return to cricket at the beginning of the Marsh Sheffield Shield summer, the one question that remained unanswered was what it meant for Doran's future.

"He's still very much in the mix," was the response of Tigers head coach Jeff Vaughan at the time, while noting that the now 25-year-old had been picked ahead of the former Australian Test captain in Tasmania's opening two Marsh One-Day Cup fixtures.

But perhaps most pleasing for the Tasmanian coach, who has returned to the job this season following a year as an assistant with the Australian side, is the young 'keeper-batter has answered the question himself.

Doran impresses with classy 85

Where Paine's returns with the bat have been minimal (with a top score of 29no in four Sheffield Shield innings) that resulted in him being left out of their past two matches following the return of Matthew Wade, Doran has produced several match-winning hands as he strives for greater consistency year in, year out.

Most impressive has been his 50-over form, striking his maiden List A century during the Tigers' third Marsh Cup match of the season against South Australia, followed by his second ton in the format five days later against Victoria.

And in Tasmania's most recent match he got his red-ball game going too, leading them to second spot on the Sheffield Shield table with a gritty 85 in the first innings when nobody else passed 50 and a composed 47no in the second dig to guide them to victory over Victoria at the MCG.

While Doran is the first to admit he was disappointed with last season's batting output, he was buoyed by his keeping form as he makes combining the two a key focus of this summer.

Doran follows his maiden List A ton with a second days later

"For me, the biggest one has been consistency," he told during the win over Victoria.

"When I was 21, I had a big year then when I was 23 and 24, I had another big year.

"The next challenge is just being a consistent performer … last year I probably wasn't happy with how I went about it with the bat, I kept really well but batting wise that's a big focus for me this year to join them both together and put an all-round performance."

Doran revealed one of the reasons behind his impressive start to the season has been the clarity around his role in the side with Vaughan's return to the head coaching job, but also a greater understanding of how his opponents might be plotting his demise.

"(Jeff) and I get on really well; he's pretty clear on my role and what my position in this team is and in white-ball cricket especially I've worked really hard to try and get some games there and succeed at that level," said Doran.

"But in Shield cricket, I've played a fair few games now (59 first-class matches) and knowing what teams are going to do and their plans (against me) has held me in good stead now to back what I want to do out there and stick to my plan.

"I worked pretty hard in the in the offseason. I did a lot of work just around going through my routine.

"I just tried to fix a few errors and (I'm) just going out there and trying to back myself and play my game."

Another factor has been keeping to two of the best bowlers in the competition's history in Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird who despite their age (38 and 35) sit comfortably inside this season's top 10 wicket-takers in the Sheffield Shield with 17 and 16 respectively.

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"They're world class bowlers those two. I've been lucky the last couple of years being able to keep to them and being able to stand behind and see what they do," said Doran.

"I'm glad I'm keeping to them, not batting but … I think being able to face those guys, talk to them about their plans and stand behind the stumps and watch them do it every day … does really help (with my batting)."

Tasmania have recalled Riley Meredith – who was rested from their win over Victoria – in place of Nathan Ellis for this week's Shield clash with South Australia in Hobart beginning on Thursday as they look to consolidate second spot behind Western Australia heading into the KFC BBL break.

Reigning champions WA, who are undefeated so far this season across both formats and sit 11.31 points clear at the top of the Sheffield Shield table, have named Ashton Agar to play his first Shield match since April 2021 for their clash with Queensland at the Gabba also beginning on Thursday.

Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis and Joel Paris will also return for WA after missing last week's win over NSW after being selected in the Prime Minister's XI fixture, while express quick Lance Morris is also back in the mix after being rested from that match at the SCG.

Pace ace Jhye Richardson remains sidelined with a bruised heel that he suffered during their home Shield fixture against the Bulls last month.

Queensland have been boosted by the inclusion of in-form opener Matthew Renshaw who made an unbeaten century and 81 for the PM's XI against the West Indies in Canberra last week.

And Victoria captain Peter Handscomb and emerging off-spinner Todd Murphy also return from representing the PM's XI for the Vics clash with NSW, who have named Aussie white-ball spinner Adam Zampa to play his first first-class match since November 2019, with both states still searching for their first win of the Shield season.

All matches with be streamed live and free on and the CA Live app.

Tasmania squad v SA: Jackson Bird, Jake Doran, Jarrod Freeman, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk (c), Matthew Wade, Tim Ward, Beau Webster

SA squad v Tasmania: Wes Agar, Harry Conway, Brendan Doggett, Daniel Drew, Henry Hunt (c), Thomas Kelly, Jake Lehmann, Ben Manenti, Nathan McAndrew, Nathan McSweeney, Harry Nielsen (wk), Jake Weatherald

WA squad v Queensland: Sam Whiteman (c), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Hilton Cartwright, Sam Fanning, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Matt Kelly, Lance Morris, Joel Paris, Josh Philippe, Charlie Stobo, Teague Wyllie

Queensland squad v WA: Xavier Bartlett, James Bazley, Joe Burns, Jack Clayton, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson (c), Matthew Renshaw, Gurinder Sandhu, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street, Mitchell Swepson, Sam Truloff

Victoria squad v NSW: Peter Handscomb (c), Ashley Chandrasinghe, Travis Dean, Sam Elliott, Sam Harper, Jon Holland, Campbell Kellaway, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Fergus O'Neill, Jack Prestwidge, Matt Short, Will Sutherland

NSW squad v Victoria: Sean Abbott, Mickey Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Baxter Holt, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Kurtis Patterson (c), Jason Sangha, Chris Tremain, Adam Zampa