FORMER Nirranda and Nestles cricketer Tim Ludeman has won a two-year contract extension with the South Australian Redbacks.
The talented wicketkeeper-batsman moved to South Australia in 2009 and has established himself as the Redbacks’ number one keeper.
The 26-year-old is on his off-season break and back in Warrnambool this week enjoying the May races.
With his place in the South Australian team secured, Ludeman said he will continue to work hard to improve his all-round game.
“It is nice to be signed up for the next couple of years and there are some exciting times ahead for the Redbacks,” Ludeman said.
“I have been here for five years now so I do feel really at home here and it is a great set-up to be involved in and we have a strong core of senior players.”
Ludeman is coming off a successful Sheffield Shield season which produced his debut first-class century with an unbeaten 100 against Victoria in February.
He has now played 30 first-class games and averages 25.04 with the bat, while with the gloves has snared 100 catches and four stumpings.
He is rated as one of the best wicketkeepers in the country and has high-quality tutelage at hand with the Redbacks coached by former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry.
As well as a solid first-class record, Ludeman is making a name for himself in the shorter versions of the game as the Redbacks’ keeper in one-day and Twenty20 cricket.
He has also been a key player for the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League where he has a strike rate in excess of 120.
While keen to continue to play a role in the rise of both the Redbacks and the Strikers, he also has an eye on higher honours.
“Obviously Twenty20 cricket has been a strength of mine but I am also keen to get more runs on the board in shield cricket because the more runs you make in all forms the more chance you have playing for Australia,” Ludeman said.
“I do have a belief that I can go to that next level. I think if you don’t believe you can do it then you won’t make it.”
Pre-season training for the Redbacks begins in June and Ludeman plans to use the time wisely to further evolve his game.
“The first four weeks of the pre-season will be heavily based on fitness and from there the focus will also be working on any weaknesses you may have in your game.
“As a wicketkeeper-batsman I have to make sure I work really hard on both aspects of my cricket and put an equal amount of time into both.”
The emergence of George Bailey into Australian colours has highlighted the importance of leadership in lifting players among the pack in the race for places in the national team.
Ludeman is regarded highly for his leadership qualities and it is a part of his game he is hoping to continue to build on.
South Australia is blessed with plenty of players with international experience including Callum Ferguson, Johan Botha, Phillip Hughes and Andrew McDonald.
It is that experience Ludeman wants to tap in to.
“I am learning so much from those guys who have played at the next level, it is a great way to develop the leadership aspect of my cricket,” he said.
“You have to listen and learn and be a real sponge around these players and take in what you can.”