TRADITIONAL powerhouse Nestles is celebrating the signature of one of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's greatest exports.
Former Adelaide Strikers, Melbourne Renegades and South Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Ludeman has returned to the club which helped launch his decorated career almost 20 years ago.
Ludeman, 34, has shifted back to the south-west after a stint in Geelong. His professional career, which spanned 10 years, netted 47 first-class games. He most recently donned Factory's maroon and yellow in 2004 before jetting off to Victorian Premier Cricket club Carlton.
"It's really exciting. It's been a while but it's good to be back in Warrnambool where I'd played a lot of my cricket at Nestles," he told The Standard.
"It's really exciting, especially with everything that's going on, the redevelopment of the Reid Oval and everything like that.
"It's all really positive."
Ludeman will continue working with Geelong-based auctioneering firm Ritchie Brothers from the south-west.
He said he'd fill whichever role asked of him but conceded he'd like to take the gloves at some point in the season.
Ludeman, who once held the record for the fastest half-century in Big Bash League history after he clocked 50 from just 18 balls, also hoped to contribute with the bat.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Nestles made major strides with the bat in 2021-22 as both captain Jake Hetherington and ex-skipper Geoff Williams found form.
"I think obviously I'm a bit older and longer in the tooth now. It's always good to play with a few guys who are younger and having fun," Ludeman said.
"That's what it's all about at the end of the day, having fun, if you get too caught up in it and read into it too much you don't enjoy it as much.
I think obviosuly I'm a bit older and longer in the tooth now. It's always good to play with a few guys who are younger and having fun.- Tim Ludeman
"I'll just hope to contribute wherever I can. Since moving back to the region with my family, I felt the best way to reconnect with the local community was to get involved in cricket again. I'm looking forward to helping the young talent achieve their dreams all while have fun doing so."
Nestles president Gary MacLean said Ludeman was a "highly-respected figure at the club" and was proud he wanted to come back to where he started senior cricket.
"We all know about Tim's journey and as a club we are extremely excited to be able to tap into his knowledge and experiences as a professional cricketer," MacLean said.
"To have a player of Tim's quality working with our playing group will be amazing and we look forward to welcoming Tim, Lori, McKinley and Jagger to the Factory next season."
Factory coach Alex Strauch said Ludeman would provide stability.
"It has been missing at times in the past few years. WE have huge faith in the talent on our list but at times, have lacked that experience and game awareness needed to take that extra step," he said.
"Tim provides that, and is a fantastic player and guy to learn from not only with the bat but in the field."
MORE TO COME
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.