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Sheffield Shield team of the season

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 7:00 AM
Source: SportsFan
Author: Ben Hocking

This Sheffield Shield season was as close as any in the competition's history, with all six teams finishing with four wins and just four points separating first from last. 

Our team of the tournament reflects just how tight it was, with Shield winners Tasmania and last-placed South Australia both providing four members each.

1. Phil Hughes (SA Redbacks)
He only played the six matches, but his performances were so strong that he earned a call-up to the Test side over the summer to replace the retiring Ricky Ponting. He hit two centuries and three half-centuries and averaged 56.08 in his limited stint in the competition.

2. Chris Rogers (Victorian Bushrangers)
With pressure mounting on Ed Cowan at the top of the Australian order, it is amazing that former Test opener Chris Rogers has gone practically unmentioned as a potential replacement. He hit three centuries during the season (a tally matched only by Ponting) and averaged 49.46.

3. Alex Doolan (Tasmanian Tigers)
Doolan has started to forge a reputation as a contender for higher honours after some very strong performances early in the season. However, his best performance didn't even come in the Sheffield Shield. Rather, it was the 161* he scored for Australia A when batting against the No.1 Test team in the world, South Africa, at the SCG.

4. Ricky Ponting (Tasmanian Tigers) (captain)
Simply a class above this level. Ponting may not captain his state side but we have made him captain of this team, just based on his experience and cool head under pressure. Scoring 911 runs at 75.91 with three hundreds - including 200* - and four 50s helped a bit, too. He was finally rewarded with a Sheffield Shield win after going without for two decades.

5. Callum Ferguson (SA Redbacks)
Ferguson started the season extremely well when Hughes was in the side, but dropped away a little once he lost his reliable batting partner. He still finished with an average a tick under 40 and started to show signs he was getting back to the form that earned him an international call-up before he injured his knee in 2009.

6. Moises Henriques (NSW Blues)
Anyone questioning Henriques' selection for the tour to India hadn't been paying close enough attention to the Sheffield Shield. In five matches before heading across to the sub-continent, he scored 385 runs at an average of 77 (a higher average than anyone else that made this side). He also managed to take 14 wickets at an average of 18 (a better bowling average than anyone selected in this side).

7. Chris Hartley (Queensland Bulls)
As always, picking a gloveman is one of the most difficult decisions. Matthew Wade was brilliant in his three games at Shield level, while Brad Haddin managed seven and averaged 52 with the bat. However Hartley was outstanding again with the gloves and may even be Australia's cleanest 'keeper.

8. James Hopes (Queensland Bulls)
The Queensland captain was as underrated as ever this season, but continued to deliver with both bat and ball. He managed 473 runs at 31.53 with the bat, but more importantly took 32 wickets at 22.75 (including six wickets in the final against Tasmania).

9. James Faulkner (Tasmanian Tigers)
Our side may be a little all-rounder heavy, but they all justify their selection through their performances this season. Faulkner took 39 wickets at 20.33 (the third highest wicket-taker for the season) and scored 444 runs at 34.15, which included his match-saving innings of 89 in the final (his highest score of the season).

10. Luke Butterworth (Tasmanian Tigers)
Had a relatively quiet final against the Bulls (aside from his 86 with the bat in the first innings), but was the driving force behind most of Tasmania's victories, taking 45 wickets at 20.8, including four five-wicket hauls and best figures of 10/89 in a match against South Australia in October.

11. Chadd Sayers (SA Redbacks)
Swing bowler Sayers can consider himself extremely unlucky that Ponting decided to continue to play at first-class level after announcing his retirement from Test cricket as it robbed him of a certain Sheffield Shield Player of the Year trophy. The South Australian was the leading wicket taker in the competition, taking 48 wickets at 18.52.

12th man: Joe Mennie (SA Redbacks)
Took 33 wickets in just six matches this season at an average of 22.03. He was super consistent in the games that he played, but managed just the one five-wicket haul, largely due to the fact he had to split the wickets with teammate Sayers.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of SportsFan.

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