'Disappointed' NCN eyes state switch after WA axing
Last season's leading wicket-taker in the Marsh Cup, Nathan Coulter-Nile is seeking on-field redemption with another state after he was cut from WA’s contract list
25 June 2020, 03:01 PM AEST
Unceremoniously dumped by Western Australia after more than a decade of service, Nathan Coulter-Nile is eager to find a new home for this summer's Marsh One-Day Cup, with a match-up against his home state high on the agenda.
The 32-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in the last summer's Marsh Cup, his 17 wickets at 18.94 helping WA to their third title in six years – all wins he was involved in.
But when WA announced their 2020-21 squad list this week, it was missing the name of a player who 12 months ago was a key cog in Australia's World Cup campaign.
And so, with 82 wickets at 21.96 in 39 one-day games for WA since making his debut in 2009, along with 116 wickets at 27.59 in 32 first-class games – not to mention 60 games for Australia – Coulter-Nile is contemplating coming up against his old teammates for the first time.
"I'd love to face WA, I'd definitely be fired up for it," he told cricket.com.au this week.
"I know the boys had nothing to do with the decision and a few of them openly said they were disappointed with it, but any chance I get to prove the decision-makers wrong, I'd definitely take that opportunity."
The bridges with Western Australian cricket are not completely burnt – Coulter-Nile will still turn out for Subiaco-Floreat in Premier Cricket this summer – and rather than lamenting what's lost, the experience has added to his motivation to re-start his career at another state.
"I want to play. I was the leading wicket-taker last year, I feel like I'm bowling alright," he says.
"I feel like I've still got plenty to offer.
"But there's still so much time before the Marsh Cup begins, we'll just wait and see what happens. But I'm definitely throwing my name out there."
WA head coach Adam Voges emphasised it was a "really tough" decision to cut a player who had made "a huge contribution" to the state, but WA’s unashamed focus is ending their 21-year long Sheffield Shield title drought.
"I understand where they're coming from; they want to win a Shield title and that's the way they thought they needed to go do it," Coulter-Nile, who hasn't played first-class cricket since 2017 due to injury concerns, said.
"I don't agree with it. But it's not my decision.
"I felt like I had a pretty good year last year, I thought I'd get another crack at it, but they went another way.
"I wasn't too shocked. I'd been given word they were going to reward the blokes bowling the most overs, which is fair enough.
"But to not even get a minimum contract, say 'come down, help out the young kids' … I've been involved for 15 years so I feel like I know a bit about the game.
"To say I was not required at all, I was a bit disappointed, but that's the way it goes."
After years of serious injuries, Coulter-Nile revealed he harboured a dream of eventually finishing his career playing four-day cricket with WA, and acknowledges the state has done plenty for him in return for his service over the years.
He's now doing pre-season to his own beat, without the services of the WACA's strength and conditioning team to guide him, and spending quality time in Perth with his wife Shani – who, helpfully, is a physio – and their young daughter Nevi.
Family makes him reluctant to commit to relocating and grinding his way through club cricket interstate, instead confident his record and experience will hold him in good stead as he chases an opportunity at another state.
And the format re-introduced last summer of playing Marsh Cup games after Sheffield Shield clashes means there will undoubtedly be opportunities for a bowler of his calibre.
The veteran of 32 ODIs and 28 T20 internationals for Australia is one of the 17 Australians with a contract for this year's IPL, snapped up by the Mumbai Indians who valued his skills and experience enough to pay A$1.63m for them.
With the future for that competition also uncertain, amid rumours it may be played in either Sri Lanka or the UAE in place of this year's men's T20 World Cup, Coulter-Nile has plenty of time to prepare for his second season with the Melbourne Stars in this year's KFC BBL.
"I didn't have a great Big Bash last summer, but I've got a fair bit of time on my hands now to get fit and strong leading up into the season," he says.
"One of the things I was so disappointed about, I just didn't perform as well as I could have with the bat.
"I can't say it will be a bigger focus because I have a pretty big focus on it already, but hopefully it will click for me this year."