SA recruit to make Shield return against home state

South Australia set to pick Jake Carder at first drop in Sheffield Shield opener in a top seven stacked with left-handers

Former Western Australia batter Jake Carder will make his Marsh Sheffield Shield debut for South Australia against his former team and seems likely to fill the pivotal No.3 batting berth in the season opener.

Carder, who made the move eastward after seven Shield appearances for WA since 2019-20, has been named in the Redbacks' 13-man squad for the game starting on Friday at Adelaide's Karen Rolton Oval.

SA coach Jason Gillespie has already flagged that captain Travis Head will remain at No.4 in the batting order, which paves the way for Carder to step up to the role that has proved problematic for the Redbacks for most of the past two decades.

"That's been a position that, if you look back over the history of South Australian cricket, it's not a position we've had a lot of success in," Gillespie told cricket.com.au last week.

"There's been a number of guys tried, it's just a position we haven't been able to find.

"That's part of the reason we looked outside the state to see if there were people that could potentially fill that role."

Carder's career statistics to date – 262 Shield runs at an average of 26.20 and a highest score of 57no from 13 innings – don't immediately suggest he's the answer to that long-term problem.

However, the 25-year-old did knock up 140 in the Redbacks' most recent internal trial match last week and is seen as a potential long-term fix at the top of the order.

His inclusion, along with middle-order additions Jake Lehmann and Sam Kerber who have been preferred to last season's third-highest SA Shield runs scorer Harry Nielsen for the round one match, means the Redbacks will boast a surfeit of left-handers in their batting line-up.

In addition to opener Jake Weatherald and Carder, SA are likely to field Head at four, Australia ODI stand-in captain Alex Carey at five followed by Lehmann and Kerber, who is vying for the frontline spinner's berth with Lloyd Pope after the leg spinner also impressed in the most recent trial game.

As reported earlier this week, new recruit Brendan Doggett is unavailable for selection having arrived late in Adelaide due to COVID-19 border restrictions while allrounder Liam Scott is sidelined due to a hamstring injury.

Another of the Redbacks' off-season recruits, Sydney Thunder allrounder Nathan McAndrew, has also been named in the Shield squad having made his SA debut in today's Marsh One-Day Cup game against WA.

Missing from SA's most recent Shield game against Victoria at the end of last summer is their leading wicket-taker from last season, Chadd Sayers, who announced his retirement at season's end.

SA failed to record a Shield win in 2020-21 and have finished bottom of the ladder for the past four summers after contesting consecutive Shield finals in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and have won just four of their 36 Shield matches in that time.

WA have named a strong Shield squad for the season opening encounter, including Test-capped quick Jhye Richardson, who is returning from injury.

However, skipper Mitchell Marsh and allrounder Ashton Agar will return to Perth after today's One-Day Cup game to continue their white-ball preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman next month, although gloveman Josh Inglis will play the Shield game before also flying out for the World Cup.

Veteran batter Shaun Marsh will lead WA in his younger brother's absence.

SA squad: Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Jake Carder, Alex Carey, David Grant, Henry Hunt, Sam Kerber, Jake Lehmann, Nathan McAndrew, Lloyd Pope, Jake Weatherald, Nick Winter, Dan Worrall.

WA squad: Shaun Marsh (C), Cameron Bancroft, Hilton Cartwright, Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Josh Inglis, Matt Kelly, Lance Morris, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, Corey Rocchiccioli, Josh Philippe, Sam Whiteman.