Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Sheffield Shield season review: Victoria
Vics captain Peter Handscomb looks back on the state's roller-coaster season in the four-day format
21 March 2020, 09:02 AM AEST
Final ladder position: Second
Leading run scorer Nic Maddinson (780 runs @ 86.66, 2x100, 5x50, high 224)
Leading wicket-taker Peter Siddle (32 wickets @ 19.87, econ 2.28, best 5-49)
It was a season of two halves for reigning Marsh Sheffield Shield champions, who ceded their title despite a late-season surge.
Failing to notch a victory in any of their first six defeats ultimately meant their three-game win streak after the KFC BBL break was not enough to topple last year's runners-up, New South Wales.
The remarkable form of Nic Maddinson, who is the Shield player of the year front-runner having blazed 780 runs in just 10 innings, was the biggest individual highlight of the Vics' season.
The progression of younger players like Will Sutherland, who took two five-wicket hauls during the back-end of the season, and Seb Gotch, who posted his first two centuries in consecutive games, as well as Jake Fraser-McGurk and Wil Parker was also noticeable.
But injuries to the likes of Will Pucovski, Sam Harper, James Pattinson and Jon Holland proved costly.
Captain Peter Handscomb discusses the season:
Where it went right
"We were playing good cricket before Christmas, we had a couple of close games and a couple we should have won. But just the mentality after the Big Bash was that we had to win every game, so we did everything with that mentality and kept moving the game forward."
Where it went wrong
"We put ourselves in positions to win games (before the break) and just didn't take the opportunity. The difference between the two sides of the season was when the crunch time came in the second half of the season, we were able to grab them with both hands and really run with it. It's what we've done in previous years as well."
"Sidds (Peter Siddle) just keeps getting it done, he's like a fine wine, he just keeps ageing with beauty. Up at the Gabba he bowled 55 overs across four days which is good going, and never let up, never gave them a sniff. He's been amazing for us."
Best individual bowling performance
Our bowling wasn't so much (reliant) on individuals, it was more team-based. Sidds bowled beautifully up at the Gabba but often without reward, so what he was doing was setting up blokes to get wickets up the other end. Scotty (Boland) got four wickets in one innings and Will Sutherland got five in the other innings."
Best individual batting performance
"The one that comes to mind was Maddo's (Maddinson's) second-innings hundred at the SCG. I didn't tell him to go out that hard – we were obviously trying to get the run rate going so we could have as many overs as we possibly could, but he went even faster than that. It was just clean hitting and I was bloody impressed with him. That whole game was bloody impressive from him (having hit 95 in the first innings)."
"I'm actually going to say the Gabba win (in February) because every little decision just seemed to work. We declared to give ourselves as much time as possible given there was a bit of rain about and no daylight savings in Queensland, no light was always going to be a factor. We hadn't won at the Gabba for about 10 years and I've never seen a batter make a hundred for Victoria (at the Gabba) and we nearly had three; Gotchy (Seb Gotch) got one, but Deany (Travis Dean) and Shorty (Matt Short) nearly got there too. For a game that nearly turned our season on its head but also bucked the trend of a decade was great."
The 'we let it slip' moment
"The biggest game we let slip was against Queensland at the MCG. We had a 100-run lead after the first innings and were then chasing 180 on an MCG wicket on day four - you take that every day of the week and for us not to chase that down was quite disappointing. That could have changed our season a bit earlier. It was just disappointing – we played three really good innings and one poor one and lost the game."
Funniest or strangest moment
"Travis Dean having to retire hurt after being hit in the box. He couldn’t face up and apparently there's a rule where if you can't face up for five minutes, you have to retire injured. So he had to be retired hurt. As far as I know everything is still in tact. Now he wears two boxes when he bats. One fits inside the other. I've never done it but a few of the boys do it. They've been hit a couple of times so it's not uncommon."
Toughest team to face
"Everyone's tough. New South Wales were the standout being 12 points ahead at the end of the season, but we were able to beat them at the SCG. The next five teams after NSW were all even pretty much at the end of the season. Anyone could beat anyone on their day."
Shield player of the season
"I'm going to be biased and say Nic Maddinson. He had just 10 innings for the year and still had 700 runs – that's something pretty special.
"He's not going out there and slogging. Sometimes it might seem like that but it's all calculated and it's all in his favour and they're all shots he believes are right (for the situation). He's also had times where he's had to bat a bit more slowly, where he's had to duck and weave a few bouncer barrages and guys bowling well. He's played both sides of it – it just shows a man in form and a man who's on top of his game."