Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Sheffield Shield season review: Queensland
Opener Joe Burns looks back at the Bulls' campaign, which included the emergence of a fine young batsman and some outstanding fast bowling
22 March 2020, 09:52 AM AEST
Final ladder position: Third
Leading run scorer Joe Burns (515 runs @ 51.50, 1x100, 3x50, high 135)
Leading wicket-taker Cameron Gannon (38 wickets @ 20.92, econ 2.69, best 5-94)
Queensland finished the interrupted Shield season with four wins, two draws and three losses to sit in third place heading into what would have been the final round, and that seems a pretty fair reflection of their performances through the summer.
Typically, it was their fast bowlers who were the standout performers, with Cameron Gannon, Michael Neser and Mark Steketee finishing first, equal-second and equal-seventh on the wicket-takers list respectively, and forming a relentless pace trio.
The batting wasn't nearly as bright, with Joe Burns' 515 runs from six matches the highest aggregate, though nipping at the Test opener's heels was youngster Bryce Street, who debuted at the beginning of the summer and finished it as the only Bulls batsman to post two hundreds.
Outside of that pair, wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson (357 runs) was the only other batsman to finish in the top 30 run-scorers for the Shield season.
Burns looks back at a season of fine moments chequered with frustrations:
Where it went right
"Our bowling this year was once again outstanding. It seems like year-in year-out we've got bowlers putting in good performances, so for us taking wickets is never an issue. The biggest thing for me was when we lost a lot of our bowling attack to Australia A, we had some new young faces come in and really do the job. So that's really good signs for Queensland. We've got so much depth – you look at Doggett, Stanlake, Bartlett and Edwards to go with the likes of Gannon, Steketee, Neser. To win the Shield you need a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets and when you throw in a really good spinner in Mitch Swepson, we were able to go into games really confident that we could win games not only at the Gabba but on the flatter wickets down south as well."
Where it went wrong
"You get to the end of the season and it's easy to get caught up in results and where you finished on the table. There were a couple of key moments that we missed where we should've really closed out games and I think they're great learning curves for our group. I look at the Victoria game at the Gabba – we missed some opportunities in the field and with the bat and we walked away with no points to show for a dominant performance. It was the same in Perth; we played a dominant game but walked away with no points to show for it. We are playing some really good cricket but it's probably about learning how to close out games. If you win those couple of games, the layout of the table looks very different. We've spoken already as a group how we want to use those games now as motivation for improvement during the winter, and to come back as a more mentally strong team in those moments."
"I've been really impressed by Bryce Street. I can tell you first-hand that being a young opening batter at the Gabba is not easy, especially with the Dukes ball as well – Shield cricket can be pretty relentless for a young guy to get his head around. But the level of maturity Bryce showed, his application – he faced the most balls in the competition – and to make two Shield hundreds showed he's got the ability to play at this level and I'm excited to see where he can go."
Best individual bowling performance
"The strength of our group is that they bowl so well as a unit. We've got a very well-rounded attack and we don't ever go into a game relying on one bowler. You can see the way they build pressure together, there's been plenty of games where one guy might get the rewards over another who has bowled just as well, so it's a pretty unselfish group. In that first game back with the Dukes ball I felt like they really sent a message to the competition when we bowled Tasmania out for 78; we won the toss and put them in because we just had so much confidence in our bowling attack. We were able to say to the rest of the competition that if you come to the Gabba you're going to have to be at the top of your game, otherwise we're going to dominate from day one."
Best individual batting performance
"For me, it was Bryce Street's second first-class game, he made a hundred against WA. It wasn't just the runs he made but the fact he faced over 300 balls. We were searching for someone in our group to make a hundred because it had actually been a while for our team, so to see him go out there and bat for the length of time that he did, that just showed his mental strength and hopefully there's more of those innings for him to come."
"That was against Victoria at the MCG. I was watching on the cricket.com.au live stream. We were missing the Australia A guys and we were up against a really tough, experienced opposition. We had a couple of young guys come into the team – Blake Edwards made his debut – and Mitch Swepson got a hat-trick and bowled the house down. To see that young group get a late win against a strong Victoria was awesome."
"Michael Neser. We don't really go out trying to have a leader of our attack but the way he takes the new ball is outstanding. I reckon every game he plays, the first ball he bowls is perfectly the top of off – you can set your watch to it. We talk as a group about the way he is on from ball one; if a bowling attack takes two or three overs to get into their work, it's a big relief as a batter just to have a few sighters. But the pressure Nes puts on the batter from ball one for our team is incredible. He had another really good year to back up a good couple of years, and he's getting the rewards by going on Australia tours. He's also a great fella to have around the team – the way he works and the way guys look up to him."
Toughest team to face
"I was really impressed by Victoria when we came up against them at the Gabba. We thought we should've won the game – chasing 340, we were 1-200 and we were disappointed to get bowled out – but we reflected on it and they were a really tough team. Their bowling attack comes at you every single ball for all four days. Victoria and NSW have got two very disciplined bowling attacks that vary slightly; NSW can be a little bit more patient but Victoria can be really in your face, always asking questions. They're two really difficult teams to come up against and that probably explains why they're top two on the table."
Overall Shield player of the season
"It's hard to go past Nic Maddinson. He's obviously had a really good summer but also since going to Victoria, his numbers speak for themselves and credit to him. He averaged 86 for the season! That makes it pretty easy to say he's been the standout player."