JLT One-Day Cup 2018
Victoria offer dumped Maddinson a lifeline
Axed by NSW, left-hander is mulling a move south to Melbourne despite not being offered a contract by Victoria
17 May 2018, 05:59 PM AEST
Damaging batsman Nic Maddinson is set to be handed a career lifeline by Victoria, who are keen to add the uncontracted left-hander to their squad for this summer's JLT One-Day Cup competition.
And the Vics say the door is not yet closed on leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, despite the 36-year-old losing his state contract this week.
It's been an up-and-down off-season for Maddinson, who signed a multi-year BBL deal with the Melbourne Stars, lost his contract with NSW and was picked for Australia's T20 tours of the UK and Zimbabwe later this year.
He finds himself in the bizarre situation of being considered good enough to play for Australia despite not earning a contract at any of the six state teams.
But the 26-year-old is determined to play all forms of the game and appears likely to move to Melbourne later this year with a view to forcing his way into Victoria's best XI.
And with star Victoria batsmen Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb set to be unavailable for the JLT Cup due to Australia's Test series against Pakistan, there's room available in the Vics squad for Maddinson, who's been one of the best domestic one-day players in recent years.
"He'll be a fair chance of being in our JLT Cup squad given we'll have a few players away," Victorian selector Andrew Lynch told cricket.com.au.
"Without guaranteeing it, we've said to him that he's more than likely a very good chance of making that squad.
"It appears he's quite happy with that. I don't know if he's totally committed to coming just yet.
"We didn't have a contract spot for him, but who's to say you can't get a contract upgrade if you play well and play enough games?"
It's understood one other state made a similar approach to Maddinson, but he appears likely to head south given he would be based in Melbourne for part of the summer anyway due to his three-year deal with the Stars.
If Maddinson can show some good early-season form with the Vics, he would play enough games to earn himself a contract and possibly force his way into their JLT Sheffield Shield side later in the season.
Lynch said the news that Maddinson had been let go by NSW came too late for Victoria to add him to their initial contract list for the season, but he added he doesn't think the talented left-hander will be lost to the system.
"Had he gone to another state, or come to us and made his intentions clear a lot earlier, he might have been picked up," he said.
"I think he'll find his way. It's just one of those glitches. His talent will come through.
"The fact he hasn't been put on a contract list at the start (of the season) doesn't mean anything. If he starts playing games for a state, he'll get upgraded pretty quickly."
Lynch added that former Australia spinner Ahmed remains a chance to play for Victoria, especially if Jon Holland is unavailable throughout the season due to injury or Test selection.
With teenage leg-spinner Tom O'Connell unlikely to be thrown straight into first-class cricket after his move from South Australia, the door remains open for Ahmed as well as allrounder Dan Christian, another big-name casualty from Victoria's contract list.
"We haven't been able to give Fawad a contract this year, but that's not to say he won't play for Victoria again," Lynch said.
"Someone of that ability, if he's playing grade cricket and he's playing well ... there's certainly a possibility that Fawad might still be picked.
"We're certainly looking at some other young allrounders, but there may be times when we consider Dan is the man for certain circumstances.
"You don't have to have a contract to play for Victoria."
The Vics expect injury-plagued quick James Pattinson, who recently had back surgery, to recommence bowling soon with a view to him playing in the JLT Cup.