On the resumption of the Sheffield Shield season last month, an inexperienced Victoria didn’t set outlandish goals or plot a barnstorming title run.
Boasting just one win from their first six matches, Victoria were content with backing youth in a bid to mould together a talented core who could help build a foundation for sustained success.
“When we came back after the BBL we spoke about how we’re on a journey. We didn’t talk about playing in the Shield final,” Victoria coach Chris Rogers said.
They won four straight matches to leapfrog into second-place and book a spot in the final against defending champions Western Australia.
Rather than be battle-scarred, they are hoping to take heed of the adversity experienced amid the cauldron as Victoria aims to chip away at WA’s stranglehold of the domestic competition.
“The challenge is to reach the top of the mountain and get past WA. That’s the challenge for everyone,” Rogers said. “With a bit more experience…[we] might have been able to hang in a bit longer. It’s a young group and I think they’ll learn a lot out of it.”
“I spent a good 45 minutes with him, talking about these experiences,” Rogers said. “He’s figuring out answers to questions. He tried too hard this game. He was fighting so hard that he wasn’t giving himself a chance to score. He’s going to be a really important player for us for a number of years.”
It was a rearguard that polarised the public but made more meritorious with Chandrasinghe, in his Shield debut season, only making the line-up after veteran opener Travis Dean suffered an injury on the day before the match.
Chandrasinghe received little support from his more senior players and also copped mocking applause from the typically rowdy WACA faithful. But he remained unruffled to produce an indefatigable batting effort that he can build on in the off-season.
“There’s room for improvement in his game,” Rogers said. “He doesn’t want to play that style of cricket, he wants to be scoring runs.
“It’s a measure of the man that he can bat a whole day. It’s an extraordinary effort and he’s got attributes to build on. That determination and to never quit is something in-built. I’m so proud of him.”
“It still bloody hurts we lost another final. I don’t want that to be a habit but we’re heading in the right direction,” Rogers said. “To win five games on the bounce is quite exceptional. They’ve played with discipline beyond their years and they had a lot of fun doing it. We are going to get better.”
#Sheffield #Shield #final #Chris #Rogers #Defeat #bloody #hurts #Victorias #unexpected #final