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SHEFFIELD SHIELD 2016-17

Spinners return as Shield heats up

03 March 2017

Fawad Ahmed hasn't played Shield cricket since last year's final // Getty

AAP & Cricket Network


AAP & Cricket Network


Victoria and South Australia boost their spin stocks for penultimate round of the Sheffield Shield

Forgotten legspinner Fawad Ahmed could make his Sheffield Shield return after almost a year out of first-class cricket.

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Ahmed has been named in first-placed Victoria's 12-man squad to face Western Australia from Wednesday, replacing veteran batsman Rob Quiney.

The 35-year-old helped the Bushrangers claim victory in the past two Shield seasons and was the competition's leading wicket-taker in 2014-15, but had found himself on the outer this season.

Victorian coach Andrew McDonald has instead favoured left-arm spinner Jon Holland, who has taken 38 wickets, the second most for the season behind South Australia's Chadd Sayers.

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"Fawad was unlucky not to be included but Holland played Tests in the off-season so he gets first crack at that position and we hope he can make it his own," McDonald said at the start of the season.

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"Fawad will be there in the wings and we hope there will be competition for all spots."

Wednesday's match will be played at Traeger Park in Alice Springs, which will also be the venue for the Shield final starting on March 26, should the Bushrangers earn hosting rights.

Give the venue's history of taking spin, the Bushrangers could well go into the match with a dual spin attack.

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The Pakistan-born Ahmed, who sought asylum in Australia and was picked in 2013 in the one-day and T20 international teams, has not played for the Bushrangers since their seven-wicket defeat of the Redbacks in last year's Shield final.

With two rounds remaining, Victoria remain a win clear of the Redbacks and third-placed Warriors.

South Australia have also added a spinner to their squad, naming left-armer Tom Andrews for their trip to Sydney to play New South Wales.

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Andrews has been named alongside leggie Adam Zampa, whose career-best match figures of 10-119 guided them to a six-wicket victory against the Queensland Bulls last week.

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The SCG has also taken turn for most of the summer and the Redbacks may also opt for a two-man spin attack.

Victoria squad: Cameron White (C), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Dan Christian, Travis Dean, Aaron Finch, Seb Gotch, Marcus Harris, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Tremain

South Australia squad: Travis Head (C), Tom Andrews, Alex Carey, Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Jake Lehmann, Sam Raphael, Kane Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Jake Weatherald, Cameron Valente, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa