NSW quick Doug Bollinger is confident axed Test batsman Nic Maddinson is “mentally strong” and ready to make an instant impact on return to the Sheffield Shield.
Maddinson took a break after the Big Bash series, in the wake of being dropped from the Australian team for the final Test against Pakistan.
The Warilla junior missed the drawn match against Queensland last week.
Bollinger played 12 Tests, taking 50 wickets at 25.92, his last in 2010 and can relate to Maddinson’s position of adjusting back to life in the domestic competition.
“It’s just one of those things you go through as a player,” the big left-armer said.
“You think you’re doing some things wrong when you might not be, for me it was trying to get wickets and him getting runs.
“But he’s fine and he’s very strong, mentally strong and I’m sure he’ll be able to bounce back no problems.”
The NSW squad had a centre wicket and net session at North Dalton Park, beginning their preparation for the Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Wollongong on Saturday week.
The second XI Futures League team played out extraordinary contest against ACT at the venue in November. Opener Nick Larkin smashed 210 as NSW finished 8-473, only to finish six runs short of victory on the final day, as ACT needed two wickets.
And the Blues could yet return again before the summer ends, if they can run down competition leaders Victoria to secure hosting rights for the Sheffield Shield final.
Sydney Swans AFL commitments at the SCG mean NSW would have to find an alternative venue to host the final, if they make unlikely charge to finish first.
It is understood Dalton Park is the favoured option for NSW officials, the final starting on March 26, the day after the Swans play Port Adelaide at the SCG.
“It’s a wonderful wicket,” Bollinger said.
“I’ve got in-laws down here at Towradgi, so it would be good to have it down here.”
Bollinger said the NSW squad would offer as much support as Maddinson needed to find century-making form. Maddinson made scores of zero, one, four and 22 in three Tests against South Africa and Pakistan, two of them facing the pink ball in day-night matches.
“He came in (on Thursday) and was batting really well in the nets,” Bollinger said.
“And he’s a great guy to have in the group and we’ll all get around each other, that’s the best way to be. It’s great to have him back and have his energy there.”
Maddinson is yet to be confirmed for the Shield match, as coach Trent Johnston considers the line-up, with a Futures League clash being played in Perth, starting on Monday.
The Blues are second on the Shield ladder, just ahead of South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, needing outright victory over last-placed Tasmania to keep the pressure on Victoria.
- SHEFFIELD SHIELD
Saturday, February 25-Tuesday, February 28
NSW v TASMANIA
North Dalton Park (10.30am)