Opening the batting for Phillip’s South Australian XI is Greg Blewett, a versatile top order batsmen who scored 9,682 runs over 117 first-class matches for SA. In addition to his abilities with the bat, Blewett was renowned for his excellent fielding (and has recently served as Australia’s fielding coach) and medium pace bowling, in which he claimed over 100 first-class and List A wickets.
Blewett scored centuries in each of his first two Test matches for Australia, joining Bill Ponsford and Doug Walters as the only Australians to do so, and eventually amassed over 2,500 runs for his country in over 46 Tests. Blewett retired during the 2006/07 season as one of South Australia’s most prolific cricketers, and remains second on the Redbacks all-time runs leaderboard.
Right-handed batsmen Paul Nobes was selected by Wayne Phillips to join Blewett at the top of the order, following a successful career for South Australia. Debuting in 1988/89, Nobes became a model of consistently after scoring over 700 runs in three consecutive seasons between 1993 and 1996. Nobes saved his most important innings for Sheffield Shield finals, in which he scored 100 against Queensland in the 1994/95 final, and then 103 against Western Australia in 1995/96, the latter guiding his state to its first Shield title in 14 years.
Nobes finished his career with 63 First-Class matches for South Australia, registering over 4,608 runs with 10 centuries and 31 half-centuries.
Jamie Siddons (c)
Current Redbacks coach Jamie Siddons has been chosen to captain the South Australian XI, following his successful domestic career which saw him amass over 10,643 first-class runs, a record at the time. Like Nobes, Siddons was instrumental in securing the Redbacks 1995/96 Shield title – his captains knock of 4 runs from a staggering 166 balls on the final day helped secure a draw against the odds.
Siddons retired with many other accolades, including being named Sheffield Shield players of the year (1992/93) with 1190 runs at 66.11, holding the record for most outfield catches in first-class history (189), captaining South Australia in 73 matches, and featuring in one Australian ODI match, in which he scored 32.
Arguably South Australia’s most iconic figure, there'll be few arguments surrounding Lehmann's spot at number four. Domestic cricket's all-time leading run scorer with over 13,635 runs, Lehmann amassed the most runs ever by a South Australian with an incredible 11,622 runs (at 56.97) over the course of his 119 first-class matches for the Redbacks. His record included 39 centuries, 41 half-centuries and a high score of 301*; whilst also taking over 130 wickets with his left-arm off spin.
Lehmann also went on to become an important player for Australia later in his career, scoring over 4,500 runs in 27 test and 117 ODI matches - including hitting the winnings runs in the 1999 World Cup Final at Lords. Lehmann now serves as Australia’s head coach, while keeping a close eye on his son Jake and his performances for the Redbacks.
Callum Ferguson was rewarded last year with his Australian Test debut against South Africa after years of dominance for the Redbacks, which also earned him the number five spot in Phillip’s side. Whilst Ferguson made his first-class debut in 2004 (aged 19), he continues to be a key member of the current Redbacks squad, including captaining the side in the absence of Travis Head to Australian commitments.
Despite several serious knee injuries, Ferguson has represented Australia in 30 ODIs (with an average of 41.43) – whilst playing 100 first-class matches for South Australia, in which he has scored 6,571 at 38.88. In recent times, Ferguson was the standout in the 2014/15 Shield season as he scored 836 runs (with four centuries), whilst in last year’s Matador Cup he struck 154 as part of South Australia’s highest ever List A score (7/420).
Despite recently moving to Western Australia, Michael Klinger was included by Phillip’s in his South Australian XI. One of South Australia's most reliable performers, Klinger’s time with the Redbacks included 56 first-class matches and over 4,000 runs at an average of 43.42.
Klinger also had the responsibility of captaining the state on several occasions, leading South Australia to the 2010/11 Big Bash and 2011/12 Ryobi Cup titles. Last year, Klinger earned a call up to the Australian Twenty20 side – a just reward for his years of domestic dominance with the Redbacks and more recently the Western Warriors.
Regarded as one of the most reliable domestic wicketkeepers in South Australia's history, Graham Manou represented South Australia in 96 first-class matches whilst notching 3,827 runs and 307 catches. Manou rose to the wicketkeeping ranks in 1999/2000 after Tim Nielsen’s retirement, and immediately created a strong impression for his efficient glovework and flexibility within the batting order.
His breakout year came in 2007/08 after being given the captaincy of South Australia, becoming the state’s top run scorer with 596 runs for the Shield season. A year later, a last-minute injury to Brad Haddin at Edgbaston saw Manou play his solitary Test match in an Ashes series. A few months later he also made his ODI debut after replacing Tim Paine in Australia’s four-match tour of India.
Another iconic South Australia figure, Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie is the first of the bowlers in Flipper’s South Australian XI. Whilst we are now accustomed to Dizzy coaching the Adelaide Strikers, his playing years for the Redbacks were fruitful; capturing 202 first-class wickets over 54 matches. Gillespie’s domestic numbers are influenced by his time spent playing for Australia, as he formed a regular part of a bowling attack featuring Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee.
Appearing 97 times in ODIs, Gillespie managed to claim 142 wickets – while his 71 Test matches included 259 wickets (at 26.13), with eight-five wicket hauls and best figures of 7/37. Despite his bowling prowess for both South Australia and Australia, is perhaps most remembered for his unbeaten double-century against Bangladesh in what would be his final Test match for Australia.
Another current member of the Redbacks squad, Sayers earns his spot in Flipper's side after five years of consistent dominance of the domestic scene. Since his state debut in 2010/11, Sayers has grown into one of Australia’s most threatening bowlers – with a distinct ability to swing and seam the ball in both directions. Sayers topped the Sheffield Shield wicket tally in 2013/14, with 48 wickets at 18.52 to be named as South Australia’s Neil Dansie medal winner – yet he bettered his own accomplishments, taking 62 wickets last season (the third most in history) to see him take home his second Dansie medal, as well as Sheffield Shield Player of the Year honours.
With several recent inclusions in Australia’s Test squad and ongoing consistent performances for South Australia, it seems only a matter of time before Sayers makes his Test debut. Overall, he has played 46 first-class matches for the Redbacks, taking 201 wickets at 23.13.
One of Australian cricket's most devastating bowlers of all time, Tait is another unsurprising inclusion in Phillip's XI. The tearaway paceman is the only other South Australian to capture over 60 wickets in a domestic season (holding the record at 65) – and overall, his 40 first-class matches saw him claim over 182 wickets, with best figures of 7/29.
Tait’s rise to prominence however mainly came through performances in List A games, culminating with him being named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year (2003/04), as well as the ING Cup’s Best New Talent award (2004). This form saw him included in the 2005 Ashes, in which he played two Tests; however, his best work for Australia came in his 35 ODIs. Of note, Tait was instrumental to Australia’s 2007 World Cup triumph, claiming 23 wickets for the tournament, while a ODI at Lords (2010) saw him deliver a ball at 161.1kph - the second-fastest in the history of cricket.
The last member of Phillip’s South Australian XI is Peter McIntyre, who despite combining in a last-wicket batting partnership to earn the Redbacks their 1995/96 Shield title, is better renowned for his leg-spin bowling.Despite his career originating in Victoria, McIntyre spent the majority of his first-class career with South Australia, playing 61 times for the Redbacks while claiming 215 wickets and eight five-wicket hauls. His best season came in 1992/1993, which propelled him to his Test debut for Australia in the 1994/95 Ashes series.
Another victim of the Warne era, McIntyre only featured once more in Australian colours against India, but will be remembered as one of domestic cricket's best tweakers.
Editors note: Phillips opted to leave himself out of the side despite 27 tests for Australia, 48 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and over 110 first-class matches for South Australia.