JLT Sheffield Shield 2018-19
Wade takes over Tasmania captaincy
Tigers make a switch to allow George Bailey to focus on his batting after below-par start to Shield season
23 November 2018, 07:40 AM AEST
Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade has been appointed Tasmania’s new JLT Sheffield Shield skipper after experienced leader George Bailey stepped aside following discussions with coach Adam Griffith.
Bailey has captained his state since 2009-10 in the four-day competition, with the Tigers winning two titles during that time.
The 36-year-old will play as a batsman for the remainder of the campaign after failing to pass 15 in eight Shield innings this season.
Bailey, who has represented Australia in all three formats, boasts an impressive first-class record highlighted by 23 centuries.
He claimed the Ricky Ponting Medal – awarded to Cricket Tasmania’s Player of the Year – for the first time last season.
Bailey is also a former captain of Australia’s ODI and T20I sides.
Wade will take charge in Tasmania’s next Shield clash against South Australia, starting on Tuesday.
The left-hander has been in red-hot form and is the competition’s third highest run-scorer with 412 at 82.40 after four rounds, including a ton and four half-centuries.
“After having a chat with George, we think it’s best that he plays just as a batsman, to give himself every chance to focus on his batting and get back into form for the remainder of the season,” Griffith said.
“Luckily, here we have a really strong leadership group of senior players who all work together during games and Matthew will step straight into the lead role and continue on the work we’ve already done.
“Matthew’s got great experience, having captained Victoria for a number of years, and will slide seamlessly into the role.”
Ben McDermott also returns to the squad after commitments with Australia’s ODI and T20 squads.
Alex Pyecroft, a fast bowler from the Tigers Academy, is in line to make his debut after being named in the 12-man squad ahead of Gurinder Sandhu.
Pyecroft has been in impressive form in the Toyota Futures League for Tasmania and the Premier League for North Hobart.
His rise to a potential Shield debut started late last season and featured match figures of 11-97 in the Premier League grand final against Clarence. Pyecroft also snared 4-15 from 15 overs against NSW in his Futures League debut.
“Alex has been bowling exactly the way we want our bowlers to be bowling at Shield level,” Griffith said.
“He’s selected from the Tigers Academy. It highlights the pathway opportunity for our club cricketers that if they come into our academy and do well then the next steps are there to be made.”
Allrounder Beau Webster is out for up to eight weeks after injuring his knee slipping while chasing the ball to the boundary during Tasmania’s last match against Victoria.
The injury will also have implications for the Melbourne Renegades, with Webster to miss the start of the BBL|08 season, and the 24-year-old will be re-assessed by doctors in a fortnight.
Tasmania squad: Matthew Wade (C), George Bailey, Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Alex Pyecroft, Jordan Silk