JLT One-Day Cup 2018
Refreshed Maddinson dreams of Test return
Cut from NSW, the three-Test batter has crossed the Murray with hopes of once again pulling on the Baggy Green
13 September 2018, 03:44 PM AEST
In the unique position of being considered among the country's best T20 batsmen but without a state contract, Nic Maddinson has emphatically declared his desire to return to Australia's Test side.
The aggressive batsman was on holiday in Mexico in May when he found out New South Wales no longer wanted him after an eight-year professional career, having captained the state as recently as March 2016.
Having signed a long-term deal with the Melbourne Stars in February, Maddinson admits the possibility of becoming a T20 freelancer briefly crossed his mind when the Blues let him go.
But in the end, his off-season break helped re-affirm his yearning to pull on his Baggy Green cap again.
And after discussions with Victoria coach Andrew McDonald, the 26-year-old moved to Melbourne to play club cricket and this week was named in their squad for this month’s JLT One-Day Cup.
"I was on a resort in Mexico, so I wasn't too angry," he recalled of his NSW axing.
"I tried to put it on the backburner and not think about it too much, I knew there was nothing I could do. I wouldn’t say I was angry, but it gave me a bit of time.
"It gave me an opportunity to step back and have a look at things and sum up where I was in my career."
Having had time to mull things over, Maddinson didn't hesitate this week when asked about his future ambitions: "Definitely playing Test cricket again," he said.
"I don't think I was ever at my best when I was given the opportunity (for three Tests in 2016). I think I have the skill to be back playing Test cricket again, it's just about putting into place a lot of runs in (Sheffield) Shield cricket when I get an opportunity there again and probably just changing my approach to the game.
"Hopefully I'm heading into the best part of my career."
Finding the balance between attack and defence shapes as Maddinson's key focus to winning his Test spot back.
The left-hander is among the most feared batters going around in limited-overs cricket, reflected in his recall to the national T20 side earlier this year as well as Surrey's recruitment of him as their second overseas player alongside Aaron Finch for their domestic T20 campaign.
But he admits he's yet to put all the pieces together in the longest format, something he worked on even during last summer's Big Bash.
"I just feel more settled with my style of play," he said. "I feel like although I haven’t had a lot of cricket in the longer forms and it's been a T20 (focused) off-season for me, I feel really confident in what I can bring to the game and the way I want to play now.
"I guess I've found a balance somewhere there where I can be aggressive and still play longer style innings. Until I put that into practice, it doesn't really mean anything yet.
"I feel like I was heading in the right direction towards the back half of the last Shield season and I was disappointed not to play as much because I really felt like I was in a good place for four-day cricket.
"I'd worked really hard, even throughout the Big Bash period, to make sure I was ready for long-form cricket.”
As the Blues' reigning player-of-the-tournament in JLT Cup, the left-hander looms as a more-than-handy inclusion for the Vics going into this year’s tournament.
NSW cited Maddinson's first-class batting average in the 30s and their "up or out" approach to elite cricket when announcing he'd been cut. And while he didn't agree with the call, Maddinson insists he feels no bitterness towards his former state.
"I understand where they were coming from in terms of that … (but) did not necessarily agree with the decision," he said.
"I thought I was at least in their best 10 batters, especially in white-ball cricket, considering I was their player of the year last season."