Tasmanian move adds up for Simon Milenko
CRICKET: It didn't take all those years studying accounting for Simon Milenko to work out a permanent move to Tasmania was for the best.
Just three Sheffield Shield appearances and seven domestic one-day matches in recent years wasn't adding up to a fulfilling career with the Queensland Bulls.
Putting two and two together meant the Lismore-raised all-rounder joining the Tigers for the 2016-17 season and hopefully getting the best out of his talent with bat and ball on a more regular basis.
Milenko made a swashbuckling 54 from 39 deliveries on debut for the Bulls in the 50-over format two years ago, and hit another 54 and claimed 3-29 in his first Shield game later in the 2014-15 season.
But, by and large, the 27-year-old has been starved of opportunities.
"Queensland has been blessed for talent when it comes to all-rounders," Milenko told Australian Regional Media.
"(Ben) Cutting, Hopesy (James Hopes) ... and Michael Neser and Jimmy Bazley coming through. It was always jostling for spots up in Queensland.
"You're there to play cricket, you're job is to play cricket, so, of course, it's frustrating when you're not playing.
"It's a bit different down in Tassie, there's not quite the depth of all-rounders, so it's a great opportunity for me personally."
Milenko will tread a well-worn path of interstaters filling the ranks of the Tigers line-up.
Even now he joins fellow new arrivals from Queensland spinner Cameron Boyce and keeper-batsman Ben McDermott, as well as limited-overs specialist opener Ben Dunk, among others.
"Not having the number of players coming through the system down, there they have to look elsewhere," Milenko said.
"It's pretty common for blokes to go down there for opportunity."
Having joined the Hobart Hurricanes for the previous season's Twenty20 Big Bash competition, Milenko has settled in well.
"I knew the set set-up, knew how the system worked down there," he said. "It's been a relatively easy transition - I'm really enjoying it."
Quality all-rounders such as Milenko have always been highly sought, and more now than ever.
"It helps the balance of the team," he said. "It allows them to play an extra spinner or extra quick. It's generally a benefit when it comes to the selection side of it."
But, while Milenko's attacking style seems best suited to either the 50-over and 20-over formats, he is determined to ensure his move south pays off in the longer form as well.
While he didn't play a single Shield game last season, he again showed his skill by snaring 11 wickets across two innings as his club side Redlands won the grade cricket final in Brisbane. It earned him the Andy Bichel player of the match award.
"I still personally believe I play better cricket with the red ball," he said.
Until the Shield competition starts later this month, Milenko will look to make an impact in the Matador Cup, the Tigers' campaign starting today against his old side the Bulls at Allan Border Field.
"It's so important in these tournament-style formats to get off to a good start. We really need to get away with a win, which would be nice ... and against Queensland would be even better," he said.