Seasoned veterans will be missing and young guns are in line for first-class debuts when this summer's JLT Sheffield Shield season kicks off around the country on Thursday.
Three day-night fixtures will take place in Brisbane (Queensland v Victoria), Perth (Western Australia v Tasmania) and Adelaide (South Australia v New South Wales, from Friday) as the battles for Ashes spots and domestic bragging rights begin. So far four squads have been named, with the Warriors and Redbacks still to come.
Jon Holland remains unavailable for Victoria's opening Shield match as the left-arm spinner recovers from knee surgery.
Holland was forced out of last month's one-day cup after undergoing a procedure to relieve swelling in his right knee.
He has been left out of a 12-man Bushrangers squad featuring Test batsmen Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell that will take on Queensland with a pink ball at the Gabba.
Wicketkeeper Sam Harper is set to play his first four-day game since spending a fortnight in hospital after being inadvertently hit in the head with the bat of South Australia's Jake Lehmann in February.
Young gun Will Sutherland, who impressed with 4-11 against NSW in the one-day tournament earlier this month, is unlikely to be considered for Shield selection until the third round as he completes his year 12 VCE exams.
Peter Siddle and Aaron Finch are among the experienced hands set to return as Victoria look to claim their fourth consecutive Shield title.
"We know how much hard work goes into winning the Sheffield Shield and how long the journey is, and the players and coaches are all well prepared and ready for what is ahead," chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch said on Monday.
"Starting on the road is never easy, so it's crucial for us to get off to a winning start this week against Queensland."
Victoria 12-man squad: Peter Handscomb (c), Fawad Ahmed, Scott Boland, Dan Christian, Travis Dean, Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Sam Harper, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain, Cameron White.
The Tasmanian Tigers have named their 13-man squad for the opening fixture of their Shield season, with veteran batsman George Bailey to lead the side as captain and a host of experienced players also included in the squad.
Fresh from a Premier Cricket hundred over the weekend, Test 'keeper Matthew Wade will make his Tasmanian first-class debut, while Canberra product Tom Rogers, a left-arm quick who played three matches in the JLT One-Day Cup, is also in line to debut.
Jackson Bird has overcome a hamstring injury which saw him miss the second half of the Tigers’ JLT One-Day Cup campaign, while Beau Webster returns to the Tasmanian set-up after a stint with the CA XI during the JLT Cup.
Incredibly, there are four wicketkeepers in the squad, with Wade expected to take the gloves ahead of Tim Paine, Jake Doran and Ben McDermott.
The Tigers take on Western Australia at the WACA Ground in Perth, with the first ball due to be bowled on October 26 at 5pm AEDT.
Tasmania 13-man squad: George Bailey (c), Gabe Bell, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Andrew Fekete, Ben McDermott, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Matthew Wade, Beau Webster.
Queensland have named pace bowler Brendan Doggett in their 12-man squad, with the Toowoomba product set to become the first Indigenous player to represent the State since Michael Mainhardt in 1982-83.
Mainhardt, who more recently coached Doggett in the Queensland Imparja Cup side, played three first-class games for Queensland.
The 23-year-old paceman made his List A debut for Queensland earlier this month in the JLT One Day Cup and would make his first-class debut if selected in the starting team.
Batsman Sam Heazlett was not available for selection after sustaining a shoulder injury during Queensland's last JLT Cup win that will sideline him for up to a month, paving the way for Sam Truloff to add to his five first-class matches in the Bulls' middle-order.
my FootDr Queensland Bulls 12-man squad: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Brendan Doggett, Luke Feldman, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson, Sam Truloff, Jack Wildermuth.
New South Wales
Test captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner will line up for the Blues in their Shield opener, with nine current or former Test players in the 12-man squad to face South Australia under lights at the Adelaide Oval from Friday.
Ed Cowan, the leading run-scorer from last season's first-class competition, has been dumped for the season opener.
The wealth of talent in the Blues squad vying for Ashes spots meant there was no place for Cowan, the 35-year-old who scored 959 runs at 73.76 last season to earn the Steve Waugh Medal as the Blues' best.
NSW are set to play Nic Maddinson as Warner's opening partner, the former Test No.6 having been in sensational form at the top of the order for the Blues in the JLT One-Day Cup with 398 runs at 66.33 in six games, including two centuries.
Maddinson's 50-over opening partner Daniel Hughes was also in fine touch, with 379 runs at 63.16 in the JLT Cup, and Hughes will claim a middle-order berth in the Shield side alongside Kurtis Patterson and allrounder Moises Henriques.
Hughes – who scored an unbeaten 203 for Mosman in Premier Cricket last weekend – and Patterson are the only two players in the likely Blues playing XI that have yet to represent Australia at senior international level and all three could be in contention for the vacant No.6 spot in the Test side.
Blues coach Trent Johnston described the decision to overlook Cowan, 35, as the toughest of his coaching tenure.
"It was always going to be a tough decision," Johnston said. "Ed has been outstanding during the Sheffield Shield over the past two seasons and has an excellent record against the pink ball.
"Daniel Hughes has been in terrific form during the JLT Cup so there were lengthy discussions. Finally we decided to go with Dan in that last batting spot. It wasn't easy. There were a lot of things we had to weigh up and consider."
Peter Nevill, who crashed a century in Premier Cricket action on the weekend, will keep wicket for the Blues with the Ashes gloveman berth also wide open ahead for the Ashes.
With Josh Hazlewood missing the pink-ball opening round, Test locks Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon will be joined by Doug Bollinger in the opening round.
Hazlewood remains on track to play for NSW in the second and third rounds of the Shield competition.
NSW Blues 12-man squad: David Warner, Nic Maddinson, Steve Smith (c), Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Trent Copeland.
All Sheffield Shield matches will be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au or via the Cricket Australia Live app