Sangha to lead 'Baby Blues' as injuries hit senior batters

Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes and Kurtis Patterson won't play for NSW this week with the 22-year-old to captain his state for the first time in their must-win Shield clash

New South Wales' chances of making the Sheffield Shield final have been dealt a massive blow with senior batters Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes and skipper Kurtis Patterson to miss Wednesday's must-win clash against South Australia.

Henriques suffered a calf injury in last week's draw with Western Australia, Hughes has a broken thumb, while Patterson will remain in Sydney with his wife for the birth of their first child.

In-form allrounder Hayden Kerr (hamstring) and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill (shoulder) have also been ruled out of the match at Karen Rolton Oval.

Young gun Jason Sangha will captain NSW for the first time in the absence of Patterson, becoming the 120th man to do so. He is the Blues' third skipper this season after Hughes also took the reins against Queensland last month when Patterson missed with a broken finger.

It caps off a memorable summer for the 22-year-old right-hander, who went from playing his first Big Bash game in more than two seasons to captain of the Sydney Thunder in the space of 20 days, while he has also established himself as a valuable member of the Blues' top order.

Sangha has enjoyed a meteoric rise: he became the youngest player to earn a NSW rookie contract at just 16 years and 233 days old in 2016, but is not the youngest ever NSW Blues skipper – that honour belongs to Ian Craig, who was 21 when he led the side in 1956.

Sangha comes into the last round of the regular season on the back of a fighting 86 that helped secure a draw with WA last week and will need to lead NSW to victory and hope Victoria beat or draw with Western Australia to keep their Marsh Sheffield Shield season alive.

The Blues have included young leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha in their squad after he suffered a mild concussion during a fielding mishap on day one of last week's draw with WA but he must pass all concussion protocols to play.

Sangha, Tremain partnership halts WA's charge

Ryan Hackney, Matthew Gilkes, Lachlan Hearne and Daniel Solway are in-line to come into XI, while uncontracted top order batter Blake Nikataris, white-ball star Ben Dwarshuis and quick Ryan Hadley will make their first-class debuts if selected.

The loss of the three experienced players – Hughes (60 first-class matches), Patterson (85) and Henriques (108) – leaves a gap of 253 first-class matches in the Blues' top order with their new top six having a combined 74 matches of experience between them.

"We'll need a few things to go our way now (to make the final), if we do win, we've given ourselves every chance, that's all we can control," NSW coach Phil Jaques said after last week's draw.

"We'll go to Adelaide and hopefully get full points.

"It was really pleasing to see Jason and Chris (Tremain) wrestle the game back (against WA), get past the follow on for us and that ensured the draw."

NSW squad v South Australia: Jason Sangha (c), Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Matthew Gilkes, Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Lachlan Hearne, Baxter Holt, Blake Nikataris, Tanveer Sangha, Daniel Solway, Chris Tremain