SECOND chances don’t come around often, so former Nestles cricketer Tim Ludeman should grab his while it’s there.
That’s the verdict of South Australia coach Darren Berry, who has urged Ludeman to make the most of the opportunity in front of him.
Ludeman and his Redbacks teammates will start the 2012-13 Sheffield Shield season on Monday when they venture to the Gabba to play Queensland.
The 25-year-old will start the campaign as the Redbacks’ first-choice gloveman, ahead of Tim Davey, after completing a “desperate” pre-season.
Berry did not mince words yesterday when saying he was disappointed in Ludeman’s debut season with the side last summer.
But he said the Warrnambool export had ticked every box during a testing pre-season and was ready to deliver.
“When he arrived last year he was the anointed one and, to be honest, he had a poor start with the bat and gloves,” Berry said.
“He was consequently dropped from the side and took a bit of a confidence hit.
“I was questioning last year whether he was going through the motions.
“He probably disagreed with that.
“But after a bit of soul searching he has come out in the pre-season and trained like a first-class cricketer, whereas I thought he was in his comfort zone.
“He’s done the hard yards.”
Berry said season 2011-12 was make or break for Ludeman, who finished last summer playing grade cricket for Port Adelaide.
He said coaches had worked with Ludeman on becoming consistent with the bat, a weakness of his game they hope he can improve.
“He is the best gloveman but he was producing nothing with the bat last year,” Berry said.
“He’s in good form at the moment. He got a couple of half-centuries in the trial matches pre-season. He’s earned his spot.”
Ludeman said he was upbeat about what could be a career-defining summer.
“In the past I’ve done quite well with the gloves and shown what I’m capable of,” he said.
“It’s time to make some runs and be a bit more consistent with the bat and keep up the high-quality glovework.”
He backed the Redbacks to improve on their winless last Shield season, although a quirky twist meant they were stunningly Ryobi Cup champions.
“I suppose going forward we need to improve on last year,” he said.
“We won the Ryboi Cup, the short-form game, and the Shield was a bit disappointing.
“Hopefully we can improve on that.
“We have all intentions to go out and win as much as we can.
“Anything you win is good. It’s another trophy in the cabinet, but the Shield is held in such high regard.
“That’s the ultimate goal.”