The squad: Peter Handscomb (c), Fawad Ahmed, Aaron Ayre, Michael Beer, Dan Christian, Jackson Coleman, Matt Doric, Marcus Harris, Ian Holland, Jon Holland, Glenn Maxwell, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron White. Coach: Andrew McDonald.
Possible starting XI: Quiney, Harris, Stoinis, Handscomb (c), Maxwell, White, Christian, Fawad, J.Holland, Doric, Coleman.
Who they're missing: Fast bowlers. Lots of them. Australia Test pair Peter Siddle and James Pattinson are both still recovering from injury, while John Hastings, Scott Boland and Chris Tremain are all in South Africa with Australia’s ODI squad. Bushrangers captain Matthew Wade and opener Aaron Finch are also away with the national side, meaning Victoria begin their Matador Cup campaign without a wealth of experience.
Matador Cup: Full schedule
The inside word with Michael Beer: “The best part is we’ve got allrounders like Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian, Marcus Stoinis who can all bat up high. It gives you plenty of options for the make-up of the side and there’s plenty of variety there for the captain in the field. It’s a big bonus for a competition like this where you move around and play in different conditions. We’ve got a couple of class spinners in Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland, so it’s all about adapting to conditions and who you play against on the day.”
The talking point: Although they’re used to having their depth tested by national selection, it’s not just Victoria’s playing stocks that have been raided by Australia this year. After leading the Bushrangers to a second successive Sheffield Shield title last summer, their coach David Saker has been added to Australia’s off-field staff. It means Andrew McDonald, after finishing up at the helm of England county side Leicestershire, takes the reins and will link up with the squad just five days before their tournament opener on October 5. And with the aforementioned absence of pacemen, former Australia Under-19 rep Jackson Coleman and uncontracted seamer Matt Doric, the leading regular season Victorian Premier Cricket wicket-taker last season, are the only specialist quicks in the squad. There is still plenty of quality in the squad however, especially in their spin stocks. Fawad, Holland and Glenn Maxwell are all proven limited-overs tweakers, as is Beer, the two-time Test player who could make his debut for his home state in the tournament.
The 2015 result: Second; lost in the elimination final to South Australia. With the postponement of Australia’s Bangladesh tour, the Bushrangers featured a side strong enough to warrant the exclusion of Siddle for the entirety of the tournament. In Pattinson, Holland and Hastings, Victoria had three of the tournament’s top-five leading wicket-takers, as their bowling propelled them to the knockout final against South Australia. And at 1-119 in the 29th over chasing 250 in that match, the Bushrangers looked set for a final date with NSW. But they crumbled to be bowled out 56 runs short of the Redbacks’ 250. Considering the calibre of their squad, it was a disappointing end to their tournament.
The young gun: While you ought to keep an eye on stand-in captain Peter Handscomb, pay special attention to Marcus Stoinis. The 27-year-old has shown glimpses of his destructive potential over the past 12 months and Victoria will be looking to Stoinis to step up in the absence of some of their stars. After notching his maiden List A century in last year’s Matador Cup against Tasmania, Stoinis followed up another strong Shield season with an excellent Indian Premier League campaign where he earned two man-of-the-match awards in seven games. The right-hander again impressed with a hundred for Australia A against South Africa A in July and expect him to be back in contention for national selection if he performs in this year’s tournament.
The pressure on: Glenn Maxwell was a shock omission from Australia’s one-day international squad to face Sri Lanka last month. And while he returned to devastating effect in the subsequent T20I series with a blistering century, Maxwell will be itching to regain his spot in Australia’s 50-over side. The allrounder himself has pointed to the Matador Cup as the perfect springboard to do just that, saying he’s determined to stamp his authority on the competition “just like Mitchell Starc did” with his 26-wicket tournament last year. Either way, how Maxwell fares is certain to be one of the major talking points from the competition.
October 5 v South Australia, WACA, Perth
October 8 v Western Australia, WACA, Perth
October 11 v CA XI, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 13 v Tasmania, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 16 v NSW, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
October 18 v Queensland, Drummoyne Oval, Sydney
2016 Matador BBQs One-Day Cup - broadcast matches:
Oct 5: SA v Vic, WACA Ground.
Oct 6: WA v Qld, WACA Ground.
Oct 7: NSW v CA XI, Hurstville Oval (free live stream on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App only).
Oct 8: WA v Vic, WACA Ground.
Oct 9: NSW v Tas, Hurstville Oval (free live stream on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App only).
Oct 9: QLD v SA, WACA Ground.
Oct 12: SA v NSW, Drummoyne Oval.
Oct 13: Vic v Tas, North Sydney Oval.
Oct 14: Qld v NSW (D/N), Drummoyne Oval.
Oct 15: Tas v WA, North Sydney Oval.
Oct 16: NSW v Vic (D/N), North Sydney Oval.
Oct 18: Vic v Qld, Drummoyne Oval.
Oct 19: NSW v WA, North Sydney Oval.
Oct 21: Qualifying final, (D/N), Drummoyne Oval.
Oct 23: Final, North Sydney Oval.
All broadcast matches will be shown live and free on GEM, except for the final, which will be shown live and free on Channel Nine. Matches broadcast on the Nine Network can also be live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App with a CA Live Pass.