Bird and McDermott make the move home for new state challenges

Bird and McDermott make the move home for new state challenges

Bird, the 36-year-old pace bowler who played nine Tests for Australia, has joined New South Wales on a two-year deal while top-order batter McDermott heads back to Queensland where he made his first-class and one-day debuts in 2014.

Bird, who was born in Sydney but has played his entire Australian first-class career with Tasmania, joins a NSW side looking rebuild after a horror season which saw them finish bottom of the Sheffield Shield. He brings with him a first-class record of 455 wickets at 24.89. During the 2020-21 campaign, Bird took his career-best 7 for 18 against New South Wales as they were skittled for 32.

“I played all my junior cricket in NSW and like any other aspiring professional in the state I wanted to pull on a Baggy Blue,” he said. “My career took a different path and I am very grateful to Cricket Tasmania and everyone that I have played with and worked with down there for what has been an amazing experience, both professionally and personally.

“Now it’s a fresh start in a place I am familiar with, and I am looking forward to being able to contribute on the field and also around the playing group. The Blues have some very talented young bowlers and I hope I can offer them some guidance if they need it.”

Meanwhile, McDermott returns to the state where the family name is part of cricket folklore after the career of his father, Craig.

He will be looking to rebound from a poor 2022-23 season where he lost his place in the Shield side having averaged 18.30 and managed two fifties at 25.14 in the Marsh Cup.

Those numbers have stymied his international ambitions after a promising series against Pakistan in early 2022 which brought a maiden ODI hundred. Overall he has played five ODIs and 23 T20Is.

“We’re very keen to work with Ben to help him realise his playing goals and no doubt his experience and skills will be welcomed by the playing group,” Bennett King, Queensland Cricket’s general manager of high performance, said. “He’s a seasoned player who has performed in all formats for Tasmania and Australia, and so it will be exciting to see him progress in the future.”

McDermott joins what is a strong Queensland top-order when at full-strength although they are often hit by international call-ups. With the ODI World Cup in October and November they are unlikely to see much of Marnus Labuschagne although should get good service from Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw who are not in Australia’s white-ball set-up.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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