Andrew Firth has continued to pile on the runs and wickets for years.
Andrew Firth has continued to pile on the runs and wickets for years.

Middle-order not average

BATSMEN who play lower down the order have traditionally had more freedom to play their shots.

The ball is older, has lost most of its shine and there is less time to for batsmen to build an innings.

Middle-order batsmen still require a decent technique but are also given a license to take more risks.

Being proficient at facing spin is also one of the challenges for those batting down the order.

Some of the most entertaining batsmen to ever grace the cricket field have batted at five or six.

South Africa’s Graeme Pollock is widely regarded as the best left-hand middle-order batsmen of all time and Australia’s favourite larrikin Doug Walters attacked the bowling regardless of the situation.

On the other end of the scale, former Australian captain Steve Waugh was a determined and gritty combatant who had the ability to remain calm under pressure.

The five selectors with the unenviable task of naming the Dream Team have thrown up several batsmen who are in contention for the middle-order positions.

Frame, Firth, Barnes, John Moy, Matt Pigg, Ray Collie, Henry Brown ... the list goes on.

Let’s look at Frame, Firth and Barnes and how they shape up as possible Dream Team selections.


Neil Frame

Neil showed potential the moment he picked up a cricket bat. And in 1960, when just 16 years old, Neil was chosen for the World Emu Tour.

Neil won numerous first-grade grand finals with South Services and also picked up batting and all-rounder awards.

He represented CRCA and has been described as the complete cricketer.

Dating back to 1967 when he played for South, Neil has scored 5569 runs, including six centuries and 23 half centuries as has a highest score of 149.

Classed as an all-rounder, Neil took 450 wickets at 13.05 and claimed five wickets in an innings on 23 occasions. His best bowling figures were 7-21.

A brilliant slips fieldsman, Neil took 116 catches in his illustrious career.


Andrew Firth

Looking at Andrew’s statistics he is a worthy contender to make the final 12.

He has enjoyed a first-grade career that has produced more than 7000 runs, including nine centuries and 45 half centuries at an average of a tick over 36.

During his career he has played in eight grand finals, winning all eight.

Andrew’s bowling exploits (450 wickets including the best figures of 8-60), make him a genuine all-rounder and a bonus to any side.

Andrew has been voted Cricketer of the Year on seven occasions.


Graeme Barnes

Classed as the ultimate all-rounder, Graeme would be a sensation batting five or six.

Like most nominees Graeme was equally adept with bat or ball.

With bat in hand Graeme was one of the sweetest timers of the cricket ball ever seen in the Clarence.

He had the ability to pick up the length of the ball early and had no hesitation in dispatching the ball over the fence.

Once set, Graeme usually went on to make big scores.

He was also a very good opening bowler who was deceptively quick and was also a brilliant fielder in slips.

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