Tasmania is set to take on mighty Queensland to begin its Sheffield Shield campaign of 2021/22. It was an exciting year for Tasmania last time around, with the team just one win away from a Sheffield Shield final.
Former head coach Jeff Vaughn resigned his position in August after receiving an offer from Cricket Australia as an assistant coach. Ali de Winter has stepped into the role in the interim, while Greg Shipperd will take a supervisory role with the state. Matthew Wade continues as captain for the new season.
It was an exciting season for the Tigers in 2020/21; the side won two matches from eight starts to finish fourth on the ladder.
The season improved on the year before, where Tasmania only won one match, including three losses to end that season. Hopefully, Tasmania can continue this improvement and put up good wins early in the season.
Tasmania’s best effort was a massive win against a solid NSW team. Tasmania scored 333 runs in the first innings led by Tim Paine with an excellent 87 and a surprise with Jackson Bird striking a run a ball for 54. It was, however, the bowling innings where Tassie showed its skills.
The Tigers went bang to take all 10 NSW wickets for only 32. Bird took a huge 7/18 to dominate the NSW line-up. From there, NSW had no chance as Tasmania ran away 298 run winners.
Jake Doran finally had his breakout season after promising so much for so long on an individual batting front. He scored the most runs for the side with 615 at an average of 43. Beau Webster continued his rise up the ranks of Australian cricket with 404 runs at an average of over 60.
On the bowling front, Jackson Bird was once again the clubhouse leader. He took 35 wickets in the season, second only to Nathan Lyon. Amazingly he took his wickets at an excellent average of only 22. Bird continues to be a force in domestic cricket, something which won’t change this year.
Tasmania’s bowling will be its main strength, especially once Nathan Ellis returns to the state.
On the green seaming pitches of Tasmania, the quick bowlers should be able to take consistent edges from the opposition batters. The four pacers of Jackson Bird, Riley Meredith, Peter Siddle and Nathan Ellis should dominate their opposition.
While Bird was the clear stand out, Ellis was still very impressive. In the five matches he played Ellis took 17 wickets, including 4/76 as his best performance. Having had considerable experience recently in white-ball cricket, debuting for Australia and playing in the IPL, Ellis will come back a bigger and better bowler for the new season.
Peter Siddle will once again provide a tremendous amount of experience to the up-and-coming Tassie quicks.
In the past, Peter Siddle has stated the goal of going to Tasmania was to develop the pace bowlers to take his spot. While Siddle still has his spot, he can’t be far away from finishing up. However, his last season was as good as ever, with 18 wickets at 28.
Meredith played just the two matches last season through both injury and some non-selection. This is fully expected to change as the pacer has gone to another level in the previous nine months. He is insanely quick, and when given an opportunity, adds a considerable amount to Tasmania’s strengths.
Apart from the experienced heads of Paine, Wade, Bird and Siddle, some young guns are coming through for Tasmania.
Jake Doran, despite being only 24-years-old, debuted six years ago now. He has always promised a lot with the bat but rarely delivered. He may only average 30 to date, but he seems to be on the up after scoring two centuries last year and will be critical in the middle order for Tasmania.
Tasmania will lose a lot of experience, with Wade and Paine both likely to miss a fair number of games through the season. Ben McDermott will need to stand up for the Tigers.
McDermott is another who has plenty of experience and will be key for the Tasmanians. The powerful batsman played four matches last year, scoring 355 runs and averaging almost 60. Known as a T20 specialist, McDermott will add some key experience to what can be a very young batting lineup.
Player to Watch
Tasmania has played a massive part in Australian cricket, bringing up young players. Beau Webster is one of these youngsters. While he began to stand out in the Big Bash, he has also come a long way in the four-day game.
Webster played eight matches last season, scoring 404 runs, including a century. He also took the bat to the bowling, striking at a team-high 62 through the season. As an all-rounder he took 17 wickets through the season, switching between off-spin and pace bowling depending on conditions.
The highlight from Webster’s year was a massive 135 not out against Western Australia. He took apart a bowling attack that included Joel Paris, Cam Green and Cam Gannon to get Tasmania to a total of 514. He struck 13 fours and two sixes on his way to his career-high score.
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Who’s in for national selection?
The Australian captain Tim Paine will miss at least a month of cricket through injury. As well as this, he will miss most of the season as he tries to captain Australia to another winning Ashes series.
Although Matthew Wade is likely to miss out on Australian selection after falling out favour for test cricket, he will be going to the UAE for the World Cup as the first-choice keeper.
Nathan Ellis will also be off to the World Cup as he is a travelling reserve. He will miss at least two months of cricket before hooking back up with the Tigers. Riley Meredith may also be in line for Australian selection later in the season when international white-ball cricket comes around.
With a good mix of experience and youth in its side, Tasmania should fully expect to continue building this season.
Tasmania’s bowling will be a clear strength, and many games will come down to whether they can bowl their opposition out. With future fixtures still undetermined, it is unknown whether these bowlers will get help from the seaming Tasmanian wicket.
This may well be the season where we see Beau Webster stand up and take a position as one of Australia’s premier all-rounders.
With the first match against a powerful Queensland, Tasmania will face a considerable test first up.
Squad: Tom Andrews, Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Tim Paine (CA contracted player), Sam Rainbird, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk, Mac Wright, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim, Tim Ward, Beau Webster.
Rookies: Brad Hope, Mitch Owen, Nivethan Radhakrishnan, Iain Carlisle, Jarrod Freeman.
In: Brad Hope, Nivethan Radhakrishnan
Out: Alex Doolan, Keegan Oates, Alex Pyecroft, Tom Rogers, Jack White
- Jordan Silk
- Charlie Wakim
- Matthew Wade (c)(wk)
- Caleb Jewell
- Jake Doran
- Ben McDermott
- Beau Webster
- Peter Siddle
- Jackson Bird
- Lawrence Neil-Smith
- Sam Rainbird
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