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JLT Cup squad preview: Queensland

Up-and-comers ready for breakout seasons as they look to take a full-strength Bulls outfit all the way in 2017

The squad: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Brendan Doggett, Jason Floros, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth

Possible starting XI: Renshaw, Peirson, Khawaja, Burns, Heazlett, Labuschagne, Wildermuth, Cutting, Neser, Swepson, Stanlake


Who they're missing: No-one. Queensland are the only state without a single national representative in India for either the ODI or T20I series, with Test squad trio Usman Khawaja, Matt Renshaw and Mitch Swepson having recently returned from Bangladesh, and Ben Cutting back safely from playing with a World T20 side in Pakistan.

The inside word with batsman Sam Heazlett: "Wade (Seccombe, new head coach) wants us to be brave. Back our abilities. He knows how good we are. Some of our younger guys – like myself – who have been there for a couple of years now are more confident and we're ready to really put the performances on the board. Guys like Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Swepson, Jack Wildermuth – we've been improving over the last couple of years but this is our time to really put our hands up and be match winners. Wade's slotted in really smoothly. He played a lot of cricket with our other support staff so they get along well. We've got a pretty strong squad for this tournament – unfortunately we don't have any Queenslanders in the Australia squad at the moment but that puts us in good stead."

The talking point: Silverware. It's four years now since Queensland took out the tournament, and considering they won four out of the eight domestic one-day titles before that, it's quite a drought. New coach Wade Seccombe inherits a team still in transition, with key figures Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, James Peirson, Matt Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Billy Stanlake and Jack Wildermuth all under 25, however they now boast some international experience between them and will be accompanied by seasoned players in Joe Burns, Michael Neser, Ben Cutting and skipper Usman Khawaja. Seccombe and strength and conditioning coach Paul Chapman has been working the group particularly hard in the pre-season – including a rigorous training camp on Moreton Island – so you can expect the Bulls to hit the ground running when they meet the CA XI on their home turf at Allan Border Field next Friday.

The 2016 result: The Bulls were somewhat surprise finalists in 2016 after finishing sixth the season before, so the upward trend is certainly a promising one. It was an achievement based off a collective effort: Neser and Cutting took 10 wickets apiece to finish equal seventh on the wicket-takers list, while Labuschagne – a surprise choice as Player of the Tournament – was the 10th highest run-scorer and the Bulls' best with 271.

The young gun: The lone fresh face in the Bulls' one-day squad this year, Brendan Doggett helped Wests win the Queensland Premier Cricket competition last summer and played for the Cricket Australia XI in last year's domestic one-day tournament, before becoming a member of the National Performance Squad through the 2017 winter. The 23-year-old, who came into the Queensland High Performance pathway through the Queensland Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander XI which competes in the National Indigenous Championships, took six wickets in four matches against the country's best cricketers, impressing with his pace. "He's a great bloke and he bowls really quick," says Heazlett. "He's hit me twice in pre-season; he hit me in the shoulder and the bruises have only just gone away. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he goes." If selected to debut in the JLT Cup, he would become the first male Indigenous player to represent Queensland since paceman Michael Mainhardt, who played three first-class and three List A games between 1980-81 and 1986-87.

The pressure on: Usman Khawaja. The skipper has been sublime in this tournament in years gone by, though he only played two matches in 2016 owing to international commitments. This summer, with the Ashes looming and with his axing from the Test team in Bangladesh, he'll be keen to remind selectors just what a high-class proposition he can be. Scores of 79 and 162 in two one-day Premier Cricket matches last weekend suggest he's ready for a big tournament. "We know how good a player he is," says Heazlett. "He's also got a positive vibe and he's always happy to have a word and give you a few tips, and just watching him bat is a good lesson sometimes."

The fixtures

September 29 v Cricket Australia XI at Allan Border Field, Brisbane

October 1 v South Australia at Allan Border Field, Brisbane

October 7 v Victoria at North Sydney Oval, Sydney

October 11 v Western Australia at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney

October 13 v New South Wales at Drummoyne Oval, Sydney

October 17 v Tasmania at Blundstone Arena, Hobart