Former Australian Test opener Matthew Elliott declares... "I want to play for Bendigo"

Matthew Elliott
Matthew Elliott

FORMER Australian Test opening batsman Matthew Elliott has signalled his desire to play in the Bendigo District Cricket Association this season.Speaking to the Bendigo Advertiser yesterday, Elliott said he was keen to play with the Bendigo Cricket Club, where he has two sons – Zac, 12, and Sam, 10 – registered with the Goers’ juniors.“I’ll have a chat with the club to see what they want to do because I wouldn’t mind having a hit,’’ Elliott, 39, said.How much cricket Elliott plays with the Goers this season is largely dependent on his work situation.Presently, Elliott is working for a drilling contractor in regional South Australia’s Orroroo, where he has two weeks on and one week off.“I’m going to have a chat to the club about what sort of opportunities there could be work-wise here,’’ he said.“Because I’m working two weeks on and one week off at the minute I would only be available every third week. But that situation is no good for the club because you just can’t come in every now and then and play.“I’ve got a fair bit of stuff to sort out, but I’m keen to have a hit because I didn’t play much last year, so I will wait and see what they want to do.“Hopefully, we can get something organised because I would like to have a hit.’’If Elliott is successful in gaining employment in Bendigo, the benefits for the Goers wouldn’t be restricted to just his batting ability.“If I can be around a bit more then I wouldn’t mind being involved with my sons, whether it be through umpiring, coaching or doing whatever ... just getting involved in the club a bit.“I always enjoyed club cricket in Melbourne, so hopefully, it all works out.’’The likely prospect of Elliott – whose father John is a former premiership-winning coach of Kangaroo Flat – joining Bendigo is a massive boost for the Goers, who have been starved of success in recent years.The club won its last first XI premiership in 1993-94, and contested its last finals series in 1999-2000.“The club is really excited at Matthew playing with us at some stage,’’ Bendigo coach Max Taylor said.“It’s not every day you get a bloke who has played 20-odd Tests for Australia playing at your club.“And the other thing is he has two boys playing juniors with the club, so it’s a long-term thing.’’Elliott played 21 Test matches for Australia – his first against the West Indies at the Gabba in November, 1996, his last against Sri Lanka in Darwin in July, 2004.In 36 innings he scored 1172 runs at an average of 33.48.His highest score was 199 against England at Leeds in the fourth Ashes Test of 1997.His Test centuries also included 112 against England at Lord’s in 1997 and 114 against New Zealand at Hobart in 1997.Elliott was on the way towards a century against the West Indies in Sydney in November 1996 when on 78 he collided mid-pitch with team-mate Mark Waugh and injured his knee.He also played one one-day international for Australia, making one against England at Lord’s on the 1997 Ashes tour.The left-hander, nicknamed “Herb’’, played state cricket for Victoria (1992-2005) and South Australia (2005-2008).Elliott’s 36 Test innings scores: 0, 21, 29, 78*, 85, 23, 44, 18, 12, 6, 66, 112, 40, 11, 199, 69, 37, 12, 4, 18, 11, 42, 114, 6, 1, 32, 8, 4, 44, 0, 0, 16, 9, 0, 1, 0.