On Sunday morning, when team sheets are exchanged prior to South Australia’s Marsh Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland, Callum Ferguson’s name will be appearing for the 124th time as a Redback.
A remarkable achievement that places the 35-year-old second on the all-time list of first-class games for the state, the game will also be Ferguson’s last proudly displaying the South Australian crest at Shield level. Retiring from four-day cricket with more than 8000 runs, 19 centuries and even two wickets in his kitbag, Ferguson departs as one of the most decorated and respected figures in South Australian cricket history.
First donning the baggy red cap in 2004, Ferguson has shared the playing arena with revered champions including Darren Lehmann, Greg Blewett and Jason Gillespie. Now making his way into retirement, he takes his deserved place with the greats in the stands after paving the way for the next generation.
Playing every game in his debut season of 2004/2005, Ferguson ended as the state’s leading run scorer, compiling 733 on the back of two centuries and four half-centuries. The most prolific season of his career came a decade later in 2014/2015, when 836 runs flowed at an average of 52.25. Those numbers saw Ferguson finish fourth in the competition for runs scored and third for average at season’s end.
The most productive single performance with the blade came that season, when the Redbacks travelled to Hobart. After making the mistake of choosing to bowl, Tasmania were never in the game. South Australia would bat for 124 overs and score a staggering 600 runs, with Ferguson personally responsible for 213, before allowing their opponents a chance to respond.
The glorious knock, shared in partnership with Jake Lehmann (205), and compiled while sporting an equally glorious handlebar moustache, was made even sweeter two days later when Chadd Sayers and Daniel Worrall bowled the Redbacks to an outright victory. The match-winning 378-run stand between Ferguson and Lehmann still holds as the third highest in South Australian history.
Ever present in the Redbacks record books, Ferguson’s 8210 runs have him placed fifth on the all-time run-scorers list. His 19 centuries sit equal-sixth in South Australian history, level with none other than Donald Bradman, albeit with a few more matches played. A fairy-tale triple-digit score in his final fixture would see him rise to fifth alongside the legendary Les Favell.
Ferguson also occupies sixth spot for scores of 50 or more, passing the mark 60 times. With the only names above him in this category being Lehmann, Blewett, Hookes, Chappell and Favell, it is a great representation of just how dominant the right-hander has been with bat in hand. Just as reliable in the field, Ferguson lays claim to seventh position for all-time catches with 74.
A true champion of Australian cricket, evidenced by the baggy green cap bearing the number 445 in his possession, Callum Ferguson has been a loyal and crucial component of the South Australian game for more than 16 years. An equally good person as he is a cricketer, Ferguson’s name and legacy are woven into the fabric of the Redbacks story and will endure throughout history. The crack of his flawless cover drive now echoes endlessly across Adelaide Oval as his name is taken down from the iconic scoreboard one last time and placed reverently beside the greats of South Australian cricket.