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Shield stars knocking on Test door

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Joe Mennie and Callum Ferguson's potential Test debuts against South Africa in Hobart reward first-class performances in Sheffield Shield cricket but who else is knocking on the door?

The South Australian pair have been two of the best performers over the past few years in the domestic four-day competition, which was long seen as the breeding ground for Australia's dominance internationally.

Mennie was last year's leading wicket-taker in the competition, becoming the first bowler since Jackson Bird in 2011-12 to claim at least 50 wickets in a season.

Ferguson's possible selection is meanwhile a reward for patience.

His 6720-run wait for Test selection is bettered only by Adam Voges in recent years, and he is also the only player to have averaged above 50 in each of the past three Sheffield Shield seasons.

But which other players are demanding Test selection consideration with their Sheffield Shield performances?

Michael Klinger could probably consider himself the most unlucky.

At 36, his Test chances are almost certainly behind him, but he has been the second-highest first-class run-scorer over the past two seasons behind Voges - his 1811 runs coming at an average of 51.74.

Fellow-West Australian Cameron Bancroft is the only other non-Test player to have averaged above 45 in each of the past two seasons.

Bancroft has had just the once chance for Australia at T20 level, but could be a chance at the top of the order if Shaun Marsh's injury woes continue and Joe Burns fails to cement his spot.

Another warrior in Hilton Cartwright topped the averages last year with 409 runs at 68.16, while Victoria's back-up wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb has struck 1579 runs at 47.85 since the start of 2014-15.

With the ball, Doug Bollinger continues to remind selectors he is ready for a Test recall.

Six years after his last Test, the 35-year-old is the only bowler to average less than 26 in each of the past three season.

Fellow NSW bowler Stephen O'Keefe is also ready to add to his three Test appearances, taking more wickets than any other Shield player in the past three summers.

Meanwhile Bird's 40 wickets came at just 19.5 last season, while Joel Paris (35 at 19.57), Scott Boland (33 at 20.93) and Chris Tremain (36 at 21.05) were all blooded into the Australian limited-overs teams after averaging less than 22 last summer in breakthrough seasons.

BEST NON-TEST PLAYERS SHEFFIELD SHIELD RECORDS SINCE 2014-15

BATTING:

Hilton Cartwright: 566 runs at 56.66

Glenn Maxwell: 497 runs at 55.22

Callum Ferguson: 1415 runs at 52.4

Michael Klinger: 1811 runs at 51.74

Peter Handscomb: 1579 runs at 47.85

* Minimum 10 innings, current players only.

BOWLING:

Joel Paris: 46 wickets at 19.78

Stephen O'Keefe: 72 wickets at 22.68

Doug Bollinger: 57 wickets at 23.42

Jackson Bird: 66 wickets at 23.95

Scott Boland: 66 wickets at 24.86

* Minimum 30 wickets, current players only.

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