JLT Sheffield Shield 2018-19
Revealed: Our Shield team of the year
Two of cricket.com.au's experts pick their best XI from the 2018-19 JLT Sheffield Shield regular season
Dave Middleton & Martin Smith
23 March 2019, 10:24 PM AEST
1. Marcus Harris (Victoria)
Matches: 9 | Runs: 1024 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 6 | Ave: 68.26 | HS: 250*
A breakthrough year for the Victorian opener that brought a Test debut, a record score of 250 not out and 1000 runs in the season. He posted a match-winning century and two scores in the nineties in the second half of the season to return to form after mixed returns in his maiden Test summer, a handy confidence boost in an Ashes year.
2. Dan Hughes (NSW)
Matches: 10 | Runs: 699| 100s: 2 | 50s: 4 | Ave: 41.11| HS: 134
One half of an impressive Blues opening pair alongside Nick Larkin, the NSW left-hander has stood up in a young batting line-up this season. With the Blues banking on youth this summer, they needed experienced players like Hughes to perform and he's done so to just edge ahead of Tasmania's Alex Doolan in this side, who is unlucky to miss out.
3. Will Pucovski (Victoria)
Matches: 6 | Runs: 581 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 2 | Ave: 58.10 | HS: 243
A prodigious talent and hard to leave out of this team, although consistency of runs has been an issue in a summer he's very publicly and bravely battled mental health issues. His monstrous double-ton on a WACA deck against a very good WA pace line-up is just a small taste of what is possible for this 21-year-old.
4. Kurtis Patterson (NSW)
Matches: 10 | Runs: 629 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 3 | Ave: 39.31| HS: 134
A drought-breaking Shield season for the left-hander that saw him make the leap and start converting fifties into centuries. With that monkey off his back the floodgates opened, and he added twin tons in the Australia A tour match against Sri Lanka and another in the Manuka Oval Test as well as being solid for the NSW Blues. His form has tailed off a little late in the season and he will be keen to reset before an inevitable Australia A berth in England this winter and, hopefully, an Ashes spot.
5. Nic Maddinson (Victoria)
Matches: 5 | Runs: 563| 100s: 3 | 50s: 1 | Ave: 80.42 | HS: 162
The left-hander's numbers in a season that has been dogged by injury are fairly remarkable and if not for a broken arm and – in this last round match – a broken thumb, he'd be well in the frame for a winter in the UK. Hundreds either side of that broken arm underlined his class in his first season at the Vics and he will be sorely missed in next week's Shield final.
6. Matthew Wade (Tasmania, c, wk)
Matches: 10 | Runs: 1021 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 8 | Ave: 60.05 | HS: 137
He bats, he keeps wickets, he captains – and he can bowl! Matthew Wade pretty much did it all for Tasmania this year in probably his best season of cricket yet. It wasn't enough to earn a national call-up over the summer, but Wade's 1000-run season – the first by a Tigers batsman in 14 years – is sure to at least earn him a spot in the Australia A squad this year. Impressively, his form barely dropped at all in the second half of the season, when he heeded the call of national selectors to bat higher in the order.
7. Michael Neser (Queensland)
Matches: 9 | Runs: 481| 50s: 5 | Ave: 43.72| HS: 76* | Wickets: 33 | 5WI: 1 | Ave: 23.03 | BBI: 5-15
A vastly underrated allrounder, the Queenslander has been a consistent performer for several seasons and is in line for a third successive Bulls player of the year award. He led the Bulls batting averages this summer and only Joe Burns scored more fifties than his five. He was also their second-most prolific wicket-taker and is a noted Dukes-ball specialist. He did enough over the course of the season to hold his spot in this XI ahead of James Pattinson, who played three less matches.
8. Trent Copeland (NSW)
Matches: 8 | Wickets: 44 | 5WI: 2 | Ave: 18.65 | BB: 6-86 | Econ: 2.31
In the twilight of his career, the Blues veteran had arguably his best-ever season to guide the Blues into the final. He's never been the quickest bowler going around, but Copeland's consistency and ability to generate impressive movement makes him a hard man to handle. And while a Test recall at the age of 33 would seem unlikely, he's exactly the kind of bowler Australia will be looking for in England this year.
9. Scott Boland (Victoria)
Matches: 9 | Wickets: 45 | 5WI: 2 | Ave: 19.80 | BBI: 7-54 | Econ: 2.83
Now 29, the right-armer boasts the experience and maturity to be deadly effective with both the old ball and new. He credits both factors for his most consistent season to date, pointedly learning the lessons of seasons past to quickly make the switch back into first-class mode after the Big Bash break. Fitter and faster than he's been in recent years, he will be crucial in Victoria's push for a fourth title in five years.
10. Jackson Bird (Tasmania)
Matches: 10 | Wickets: 50| 5WI: 4 | Ave: 22.22 | BBI: 7-59 | Econ: 2.78
Seemingly perpetually on the fringes of the Australian Test side, the Tassie quick has been outstanding with the ball to take a competition-leading 50 wickets and will again be in the mix when the Ashes squad is named later this year. A model of consistency with either brand of ball, on any surface with his nagging accuracy and ability to extract movement, Bird is a perfect role model for the state's cache of exciting young quicks.
11. Jon Holland (Victoria)
Matches: 7 | Wickets: 26 | 5WI: 3 | Ave: 27.00 | BBI: 5-31 | Econ: 2.44
It wasn't a massive summer for spinners but the left-armer was as reliable as ever in Victoria's quest for yet another Shield title. Holland certainly wasn't at his best on Australia's Test tour of the UAE in October, but he remains a constant threat domestically, either taking wickets or holding up an end and letting Victoria's star pace attack do its thing. Special mention to Nathan Lyon (20 wickets in three games) and Steve O'Keefe (19 wickets in six games), who also had solid seasons.