CRICKET


Ben set to star this summer

Last year the Australian cricket team was undisputedly lacking Tasmanian talent, with proud Launceston lad Ricky Ponting leading the way as the only Tasmanian in the permanent team. So it’s time for the reinforcements from the Apple Isle to arrive. After a Pura Cup winning performance last year, Tasmania put forward plenty of potentials; Ben Hilfenhaus was the big mover in the ranks. A season full of highlights provided Ben with his international debut in the twenty20 against England and in front of his home crowd at Bellerive when Australia took on New Zealand. Hilfenhaus proved to the sectors he was the real deal, claming wickets in both games as well as a defying catch which finished what was already won down in Hobart. His hard work was not rewarded, selectors, including fellow Tasmanian’s Jamie Cox and David Boon, overlooked his performances and he not only didn’t partake in any further Commonwealth Bank matches or the Chappell Hadley series, but his name was left out of the team heading forth to the Caribbean. The career that looked certain to be had been stalled. Up to recently the news appeared to have taken a turn, he was named as a contracted Australian Cricketer and was labeled a distinct possibility to at least travel to South Africa for the twenty20 World Cup. Once again as if on call, selectors have shown him the blind eye, Hilfenhaus left of the squad again. It’s an exception that Australia’s got a choice in front line bowlers from the talent going around, which means Ben won’t always be in the action, but when he’s not even being looked at as a possible 12th man or another reserve I begin to question their reasons behind doing so. It looks set to be a big summer of cricket for Tasmania, from the looks at the recent Australian squad the Tigers will be at full strength and hard to beat as players like Birt, Butterworth, Wright and many more, not to mention my man Hilfy are still playing state cricket. The quality there almost pleads with selectors to get them into the Australian team, but for the time being Tasmania will be at its best with the dominant force of these blokes leading the way.

By Sam Stoffelen