..............Jon Moss will make himself available for New South Wales next season having ended his seven-year stint with Victoria. However, Moss said there was no possibility he would be a surprise inclusion in the Blues' 2007-08 squad, which will be announced within the next week.
Moss, 32, has returned home to Sydney but said his split with the Bushrangers was amicable. He was offered a two-year contract in 2006 but signed on for only one season to leave his options open. A disappointing summer sealed the deal and he was left out of Victoria's 2007-08 line-up.
"It's been a long time coming in my mind and I suppose not only were Victoria ready to move on but I was ready to move on as well," Moss told Cricinfo. "I have a six-week-old daughter, Olivia, and that changes my priorities a bit. The most important thing is to prepare myself for a career after cricket."
He had been one of the constants in a Victoria line-up that has changed significantly since he made his debut in 2000-01. However, he was dropped for some Pura Cup matches last season and his six appearances brought only 149 runs at 18.62. Moss retained his knack for breaking partnerships with his medium-pace bowling and claimed 14 wickets at 28.14. His one-day form - he made 344 runs at 31.27 - was better but despite playing every match his highest score was only 60.
Showing no animosity towards Victoria, Moss was keen to reflect on the positives of his move south. "I achieved everything I ever dreamed of and more in first-class cricket," he said. "I moved down to Melbourne on nothing, not even on a state contract. The Pura Cup win in 2003-04 was certainly the highlight but it was bittersweet with Hookesy [David Hookes] dying and also my first coach, John Scholes [who died in 2003]. I went through some ups and downs but overall the seven years was phenomenal."
Far from being seen as an interstate interloper, Moss quickly became a well-respected member of the Victoria squad and was the Bushrangers' Player of the Year in 2002-03. One of his best memories was when he was appointed as the stand-in captain in 2003-04. Moss led from the front and made 172 not out - his highest first-class score - as Victoria annihilated Western Australia at Perth.
A versatile player who slotted in anywhere from opening to No. 8, Moss always regarded himself primarily as a batsman. He scored 2796 runs at 35.84 from his 55 Pura Cup matches but he was an often under-rated bowler who claimed 91 wickets at 30.48. In 62 one-day games for Victoria he made 1475 runs at 28.36 and collected 43 wickets at 35.09.
Moss, who did not play for the Blues before relocating to Melbourne, believes there is plenty of cricket left in him. "I've let New South Wales know I'm up here," he said. "Hopefully they'll keep an eye on me." When asked if there was any chance he would make their contract list for 2007-08, Moss was unambiguous. "No. I can guarantee that won't be the case," he said