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JLT Cup squad preview: Tasmania

25 September 2017

Jackson Bird celebrates a wicket during last season's domestic one-day tournament // Getty

Louis Cameron


Louis Cameron


The Tigers have a point to prove in their upcoming JLT One-Day Domestic Cup campaign

The squad: George Bailey (c), Jackson Bird, Cameron Boyce, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Ben Dunk, Andrew Fekete, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Charlie Wakim

Possible starting XI: Dunk, Silk, Doolan, Bailey (c), McDermott, Doran (wk), Milenko, Boyce, Rainbird, Fekete, Bird.

Who they’re missing: The Tigers will begin their JLT One-Day Cup campaign without new recruit Matthew Wade (who returned home to Hobart over the off-season), fellow gloveman Tim Paine and allrounder James Faulkner, but all three are expected to join the squad towards the end of the tournament. Wade and Faulkner are in Australia's squad for the one-day component of their limited-overs tour of India while Paine is in for the three-match T20 leg of the trip.  

The inside word with Tasmania fast bowler Jackson Bird: "'Griffo' (new Tigers coach Adam Griffith) has been really good, he's a really good communicator, everyone knows where they stand in the group. In the last couple of years, off the field we had a bit of a negative mindset. I think that comes with losing quite regularly – it's a pretty hard thing to get rid of really. It creeps into the players and the coaches. It's hard to be all 100 per cent positive when you're not doing well. 'Griffo' is really trying to get the boys to be positive. I'm really looking forward to starting the season and changing things around because it's been disappointing the last couple of years."

Is it a Bird? Yes, it is!

The talking point: The Tigers have a point to prove after an exhaustive review of Tasmanian cricket led by Mike Hussey outlined a refined set of priorities for the state and helped install a new coaching panel in the wake of Dan Marsh's sacking last summer. While their 50-over results have been far from dismal in recent summers, they haven't finished higher than fourth since 2011-12 and haven't won a title since 2009-10. This year's squad stacks up well on paper; fan favourite George Bailey is arguably the best 50-over batsman not currently in Australia's ODI squad and the likes of Alex Doolan (the Tigers' leading run-scorer in last year's domestic one-day tournament), Ben Dunk, Jordan Silk and Ben McDermott will all be hungry for runs. In the bowling department, leg-spinner Cameron Boyce looms as a major weapon, while Bird is eager to take advantage of the bouncy WACA track for their first three matches. In a coup for cricket on the Apple Isle, three matches (Tasmania's final group match against the Bulls, plus the elimination final and the grand final) will be played at Hobart's Blundstone Arena, meaning the Tigers could lift the silverware in front of their home fans.

Brilliant Boyce snags four-fer

The 2016 result: An upset win over eventual champions NSW had the Tigers on track to break their one-day title drought but ensuing defeats to Victoria and Western Australia – as well as their series-opening loss to Queensland by a single run on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method – ultimately counted against them. The batsmen managed just one century between them – Paine's unbeaten 101 against the Cricket Australia XI – while Boyce led the way in the wickets column for Tasmania with nine scalps in six games. Speedster Cameron Stevenson, who snared 5-32 on his List A debut in Tasmania's final match of last year's tournament, has interestingly been left out of the Tigers squad for this year's series.

The young gun: Uncapped recruits Tom Rogers and Charlie Wakim from NSW have both made the squad but Bird is most excited about young tearaway Riley Meredith, a homegrown right-armer from Clarence Cricket Club. The 21-year-old made his domestic debut last summer for the Cricket Australia XI in a January tour match against Pakistan and has made vast improvements to his game, according to Bird."He's been the pick of the bowlers that I've seen so far in all the training that we've done," he said of Meredith. "He's bowling fast and he just knocks blokes over. If he gets his opportunity, I'm sure he's going be able to do well. He's had a few injuries over the last couple of seasons where he hasn't played a lot of cricket. But he's improved out of sight in the last 12 months. It's good to see a homegrown Tassie player coming through the ranks. He's got all the attributes to play at the highest level."

The pressure on: Bird himself admits his output in last year's one-day tournament wasn’t up to scratch (four wickets at 71.25 in six games) and is striving for an improved return this time around. "Last year was a funny one," he said. "The first Test (against South Africa) started straight after the tournament so no one really knew what was going on in terms of (national) selection and … I let that get to me. It's pretty disappointing that it did because I'm experienced enough to know now you can't do anything about selection and it does your head in worrying about it. It probably did affect my performance towards the back end of the tournament. The last couple of years, although I haven’t been going at a very high economy rate, I just haven’t taken the wickets I would have liked. My job is to take wickets with the new ball and I'm looking forward to this series to have more of an impact."

The fixtures:

October 2 v NSW, WACA Ground, Perth

October 4 v Victoria, WACA Ground, Perth

October 7 v Western Australia, WACA Ground, Perth

October 10 v South Australia, North Sydney Oval, Sydney

October 13 v Cricket Australia XI, Hurstville Oval, Sydney

October 17 v Queensland, Blundstone Arena, Hobart

About the Writer


Louis Cameron is a Melbourne-based journalist. A former Victorian Bushrangers fast bowler, Louis joined the team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program in 2016.