OPENING batsmen growing nervous about the prospect of facing Merewether recruit Mark Cameron might be relieved to learn that it could have been worse.
Michael Hogan could have been bowling at the other end.
The Newcastle Herald can today reveal the audacious plan that, had it come to fruition, would have produced arguably the most lethal new-ball combination in the history of Newcastle District Cricket Association.
Cameron, the former NSW and Australia A quick, has signed with the premiers after retiring from first-class cricket in February.
Hogan, meanwhile, was secretly planning a guest stint for Merewether in between his commitments with Western Australia and English county outfit Glamorgan.
The scheme came unstuck when Cricket Australia learned recently that Hogan intended to change his national affiliation – he is eligible to hold an English passport – after signing a three-season deal with Glamorgan.
Hogan intended to keep playing for WA as an overseas player but accepted that he was unlikely to secure a foreign import’s spot in the Big Bash League.
With no other interstate cricket scheduled during the BBL, Hogan secured permission from the WA coaching staff to bring his young family back to Newcastle, where he hoped to renew ties with his former Merewether teammates.
That was overruled by Cricket Australia, who tightened the regulations regarding international eligibility after Victorian quick Darren Pattinson, brother of James, played a Test match for England in 2008.
Cricket Australia told Hogan he could not play for WA as an overseas import, which prompted him to withdraw from the deal with Glamorgan.
‘‘It’s disappointing,’’ Hogan said yesterday.
‘‘We were really looking forward to it, both my wife and myself. We’d got all the way to the stage where we had our flights booked and everything, and then up popped this ruling that nobody expected and we had to put it all on the back burner.’’
Hogan, who took 46 Sheffield Shield wickets last season, second only to Tasmania’s Jackson Bird, said he took a pragmatic view when the Glamorgan deal was first tabled.
‘‘It would have meant giving up the right to be selected for Australia, but to be honest, I think that possibility is probably gone now,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m 31 next week and the selectors have shown their hand, going in a younger direction.
‘‘I don’t think playing for Australia is really on my horizon.’’
As for playing with Merewether, Hogan admitted he would have relished the prospect of sharing the new ball with Cameron.
‘‘It would have been interesting,’’ he said.
‘‘My wife and I were looking to come back [to Newcastle] for the Christmas period and I was looking at a break of a couple of months.
‘‘I asked [WA] if I could play a few games during that time and they were fine. [Merewether captain] Simon Moore said he was willing to accommodate me.
‘‘It would have been good to play with Scud [Cameron].
‘‘We didn’t get to play together at the WACA, so it would have been nice to share the ball with him.’’
Batsmen around town might beg to differ.