DateLine: 8th December 2005
Curly haired and with dark eyes and complexion, at first glance Jon Moss resembles more a native of Seville than Sydney. What isn’t in doubt is that Moss is an all-rounder who, curiously, has found Pura Cup cricket for Victoria a lot easier to master than English county cricket with Derbyshire. As a hard hitting batsman and medium paced bowler, Moss is obviously very suited to limited-overs cricket. It was in this form of the game that Moss got closest to international selection, by being named in a 30 man preliminary squad in June 2004 for the Champions Trophy which was held late in the 2004 English summer. However, in First-class cricket for Victoria he averages 40 with the bat and 27 with the ball, a record which puts him in the highest bracket of Australian all-rounders. However, in the international queue he is still be behind Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds and James Hopes. Being a medium pacer on hard Australian wickets, he has achieved his bowling success by having the courage to pitch the ball up, and it is this virtue which has allowed him to take a large proportion of his wickets bowled and lbw.
In his two seasons for Derbyshire he struggled to impose himself. The occasional explosive innings was followed by a string of cheap dismissals, and his inability to take large numbers of wickets meant he was relegated to being fourth (or even fifth) seamer in a team which finished bottom of the second division of the Championship. Moss had spoken of being used as a strike bowler for Derbyshire, which seemed a little strange considering his (lack of) pace, although his nous and experience made him a very useful death bowler in limited-overs cricket. Controversy surrounded his release from Derbyshire at the end of the 2005 season, as Moss claimed he’d been made a firm verbal offer of a contract for the 2006 English season, an assertion which Derbyshire rejected.
Moss played in the 2000/1 Pura Cup Final just a fortnight after making his First-class debut, although he made a duck in the first innings as Victoria lost. However, happier times followed in the 2003/4 Final, when Moss was the second highest Victorian scorer with 98 (in a mammoth total of 710) and then taking 3-18 in Queensland’s first innings. The Victorian march to the trophy had been based in no small part on Moss’s efforts, as he had averaged over 60 with the bat while taking his wickets for a touch under 30 during that season. However, in the Australian winter of 2005 Moss was disappointed that his transfer request to return to his native New South Wales had been turned down by The Bushrangers. Moss may yet play for Australia, although the fact that he is now 30, (combined with the non-wholesale changes made after the Ashes loss to England) means that he may have to settle for continuing to turn in very strong performances in domestic cricket.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)