JLT Sheffield Shield 2018-19
Thumb surgery extends Maddo woe
Nic Maddinson faces major surgery on his fractured thumb, opening the door for Cameron White to return for the Shield final
Andrew Ramsey at Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
22 March 2019, 10:51 PM AEST
Nic Maddinson won't be part of Victoria's push for a third JLT Sheffield Shield crown in four seasons, with the luckless left-hander to undergo surgery on Monday to repair his fractured right thumb.
Maddinson was injured attempting a slips catch on Wednesday, and when the damage was assessed in Melbourne on Friday it was revealed the break was so severe it will require the insertion of several screws to help it heal.
As a result, he will be a spectator at Junction Oval next week as Victoria hosts the five-day final against an opponent yet to be decided, having played a vital role in lifting them to the top of the Shield table.
Victoria coach Andrew McDonald confirmed that former skipper Cameron White is the likely replacement for Maddinson, who has suffered a frustrating run of injuries since transferring from New South Wales last year.
"He was assessed yesterday, and it's not good news for him," McDonald said Friday, as Victoria ended day three of their Shield match against South Australia requiring 98 runs with all 10 wickets intact to complete an outright win.
"He'll have surgery on Monday, and it will be a full repair of the joint with a couple of screws.
"So he won't be any chance of playing in the Shield final.
"It's just really unfortunate for Nic who's had a bad run.
"He played with broken ribs during the JLT Cup campaign (which Victoria won), which many wouldn't have known about, and then he broke his arm leading into the Big Bash – and now this.
"So I really feel for him, not having the opportunity to contribute to the final but in some indirect way he's contributed massively to us getting there.
"He really has returned to the form of a few years ago and shown what a great talent he is."
Maddinson has been Victoria's third-highest runs scorer of the current Shield season, with his 563 runs at 80.42 (from eight innings) bettered only by opener Marcus Harris (currently 995 and not out overnight) and young gun Will Pucovski (581).
However, the enforced change has opened the door for White who was omitted from Victoria's team for this game in Adelaide, partly to enable them to employ a five-man bowling attack and therefore lessen the workloads on their front-line attack.
It also allowed McDonald and his brains trust to see how the structure of five specialist bowlers (including quasi-allrounder James Pattinson) performed with an eye to taking that same formation into next week's final.
If they opt to go with an extra batter and play three quicks and a spinner, then the spare batting berth is likely to be filled by either Eamonn Vines or Sam Harper.
However, it seems most likely that White will return to the fold for what looms as the last hurrah of a celebrated, trophy laden career.
"He's highly likely to be the next batter to come back in," McDonald said today.
"I would say that with some sort of surety, although I haven't checked that off with the selectors. That would be a very good option for us, and highly likely.
"We've still got a couple of guys in training, Eamonn Vines and Sam Harper
"There's chances for all those to come into calculations, but I daresay the obvious change is one batter goes out and that's Nic Maddinson, unfortunately."
In addition to not over-working their bowlers in dismissing bottom team SA for 260 and 192, Victoria also welcomed the glimpse of form shown by acting captain Travis Dean who remained unbeaten on 33 at stumps today.
Dean has endured an indifferent season at the top of the order and struggled to post a score of substance since taking over from skipper Peter Handscomb following his call-up to Australia's ODI outfit.
Since the mid-season hiatus, which also saw the arrival of Dukes ball and its inherent challenges to rival openers, the right-hander had scored just 64 from seven innings at an average of less than 10 before today.
But with his highest score since the first half of the season now under his belt, it would appear the only selection conundrum for the runaway competition leaders is whether to employ three quicks, or four.
Having come into the starting XI for this game to allow Victoria's leading Shield wicket-taker of the season – Scott Boland – a rest, seamer Andrew Fekete finished with match figures of 2-106.
He therefore seems unlikely to retain his place, with Boland refreshed for the final.
Given that the other bowlers all got through their pre-final workload unscathed, the favourites will likely lean towards a four-pronged pace attack (Boland, Chris Tremain, Pattinson and Peter Siddle) along with left-arm spinner Jon Holland.
"If you look at the way we've done it this year, half the games we've played four quicks and a spinner and the other half it's been three quicks and an extra batter," McDonald said.
"If it's been four quicks, we’ve played the allrounder which is Patto (Pattinson).
"In this game we went four quicks and a spinner, and Cam White was unlucky with the balance of the team but we've got to make decisions based on what our formation looks like for the final.
"We've not decided one way or the other at the moment, so there could be a couple of batters or it might just be a straight swap for Nic Maddinson and go with the same formation we've used here.
"This game was all about maintaining our standards, and the reason why we went with four quicks and a spinner was so we could manage those loads within the last game.
"And also to have a look at that formation, and whether we want to put that into place for the final."