When Australian paceman Peter Siddle was forced to withdraw from his Nottinghamshire contract with a stress fracture of the back, his countryman Jackson Bird seemed an ideal replacement as the County’s overseas player for 2016.
Born in Sydney on 11 December 1986, Jackson Munro Bird played grade cricket for Manly but was unable to force his way into the New South Wales side. The 6’ 5” right arm pace bowler moved to Tasmania for the 2011/12 season and made an immediate impact. He took a hat trick in only his seventh Sheffield Shield appearance and in his first season took 53 wickets. When he was named Sheffield Shield Player of the Year it capped a wonderful first season in First-Class cricket.
Bird soon came to the notice of the Test selectors and made his Australian debut against Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test of 2012 – just 13 months after his First-Class debut.
Back injuries curtailed the amount of cricket he played. Bird had to return home early from tours of both India and England, in 2013, and pull out of a County contract with Northamptonshire in 2014. Hampshire signed Bird for the 2015 season but injury restricted him to just six Championship matches.
By the time he joined Nottinghamshire, Jackson Bird seemed fit and was in a rich vein of form. He had played in five Test Matches for Australia and in February 2016 claimed a maiden Test five-wicket haul against New Zealand in Christchurch. He followed this with a career best 7-45 for Tasmania against New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield a month before he joined Notts.
Bird played his first game for Nottinghamshire in the opening County Championship fixture of 2016. His first innings spell of 4-56 helped Notts to secure a home victory over Surrey, a win which would prove to be the County’s only triumph in a season which ended in relegation from Division 1 of the Championship.
This match proved to be the high point of Jackson Bird’s stay in the East Midlands. Despite originally signing for the first ten Championship matches, he would feature in just five, claiming a total of 15 wickets. By mid-June T20 captain Dan Christian was preferred to Bird as the overseas option in four-day cricket, and he left the County in late June to join the Australian squad for their tour of Sri Lanka. In its end of season review Wisden would sum up Bird’s contribution to Nottinghamshire’s season as ‘disappointing’.
After his time with Notts, Bird played a further four Test Matches for Australia. He continued to be successful in Australian domestic cricket and in the 2018/19 season, took 50 wickets in 10 Sheffield Shield starts for Tasmania. As the decade ended, he was still making telling contributions with the ball in 2019/20 for Tasmania in First-Class and List-A cricket and for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 639