The tireless quick retires as one of the greatest players ever to represent the state, a superlative backed up by consistently remarkable performances across a brilliant career.
During his opening over against the old rivals this weekend, Sayers will bowl his 19,000th delivery in first class cricket; an incredible number that perfectly encapsulates the effort and passion he has poured into his time beneath the baggy red cap.
Signing his first state contract during the 2006/07 season as a rookie, Sayers has been a mainstay of cricket in South Australia for more than 15 years. During that time, he has become the third-highest Sheffield Shield wicket-taker in the state’s history, prying a total of 278 batsmen from their crease with a mixture of endless cunning and technical skill. Sayers is in wonderful company at the top, sharing the podium with South Australian greats Clarrie Grimmett and Ashley Mallett.
His average of 25.82 sits comfortably inside the top ten historically, with Grimmett and Mallett the only others on that list to have taken the field as many times as Sayers. The 33-year-old has claimed five wickets in an innings on 14 occasions, the sixth most in Redbacks history, and ten wickets in a match three times, one of just five players to do so.
Sayers was rewarded for his consistency with a coveted baggy green cap, emblazoned with the number 452, in 2018. Opening the bowling against South Africa in Johannesburg, Sayers took two wickets in three deliveries, including a maiden international wicket that had the classy AB de Villiers heading back to the pavilion.
A Bradman Medallist following a perfect 2010/11 Premier Cricket season that yielded 65 wickets at an average of 8.63 for Woodville, Sayers has made a habit of collecting wickets in bundles throughout his career. His best figures of 8/64 came against a strong NSW side in 2019, a game he would finish with 13/131, his best performance in a match.
This innate ability to assemble huge numbers of wickets led Sayers to be crowned Shield Player of the Year at the conclusion of the 2016/17 season on the back of 62 wickets, the third-most in the history of the competition.
Sayers took his love of wicket-taking to a new level in October of 2014, becoming the first South Australian in almost four decades to take a hat-trick, achieving the feat at Adelaide Oval. Utilising his deadly ability to swing the ball, Sayers first hit Joe Burns’ stumps, then rapped Ben McDermott on the pads before finding the edge of Peter Forrest’s bat to become just the tenth South Australian to claim the elusive milestone of three wickets in consecutive deliveries. The feat is immortalised in Adelaide Oval’s Avenue of Honour, with an image of Sayers taking its place beneath the Member’s Stand.
Chadd Sayers will be remembered for many things as a South Australian cricketer; the sheer number of wickets he has taken, his rise to the stage of international cricket, the electric hat-trick at Adelaide Oval and even his 1570 runs with the bat, including three half-centuries. But perhaps what he will be celebrated for most is the continuous toil he has committed to the cause. Be it charging in for his 30th over of the day, fighting for lower order runs or pursuing the ball in the field, there was never a call that Chadd Sayers didn’t answer.
This week, Sayers’ first class cricketing career will come to an end, but his legacy will continue to live within the halls of South Australian cricket.
01 April 2021